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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL)

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Assistant Majority Leader Michael Nelson responded cautiously to Wednesday's state budget forecast, expressing concern about some economic indicators such as slower single-family housing starts and rising unemployment. "It's kind of a good news-bad news situation," said Nelson. "The good news is that we don't have to deal with deficits or painful cuts. The bad news is that there is still some uncertainty about the economy and that means we don't have the kind of money available to reverse some of the cuts that were made in 2003." According to the forecast released by the Minnesota Department of Finance today, the budget outlook for fiscal year 2008-09 remains unchanged. A small improvement in the revenue outlook is almost completely offset by a small increase in projected expenditures. According to Nelson, that means that while that while the state has a projected budget surplus of $2.163 billion dollars, that amount is actually closer to $1 billion in one-time money that remains available after inflation is figured in. "We are going to have to be very careful in how we budget in order to stay focused on our priorities of good schools, better health care and long-term property tax relief," said Nelson. "This budget forecast won't give us buckets of money to take care of all of our wants." -30-