We unveiled a bill this week which takes immediate action to reduce our
budget shortfall by $1 billion as we work to fix a projected $6.2
The bill reduces spending for state agencies by $200 million in the
current budget, makes other one-time spending cuts permanent, reduces
the long-term deficit by another $840 million and prevents state
agencies from unnecessary end-of-year spending.
The bill mostly reflects spending levels that received bipartisan
approval at the end of the 2010 session. It is good that many of our
state entities anticipated these budget adjustments and have planned
This first phase of the budget-balancing plan would cancel the return
of the program which uses tax money to refund political contributions.
It also keeps local government aids and credits, MnSCU and the
University of Minnesota at Fiscal Year 2011 levels. Furthermore, the
bill gives the Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner the
directive to reduce state agency spending by $200 million to help
prevent agencies from draining their budgets in order to "validate"
their total level of funding. Constitutional offices and the Legislature
would also see a reduction to their current budgets.
Removing a number of automatic increases reduces the deficit by $840
million. These are reductions already in place for this year, so we’re
just making them permanent for future budgets instead of letting the
spending go back on autopilot next year. Money saved now will allow us
to remain committed to our spending priorities. For instance, we
included a provision in the bill which indicates K-12 education, special
education, and colleges and universities cannot be reduced.
This bill is just one step toward closing our budget gap in a fiscally
responsible, sustainable way. I will keep you posted as things develop
and welcome your input.