To the editor:
The economic forecast we recently received says our budget picture for the next biennium has improved by about $1.2 billion since our last report in November, but it also indicates we still have a $5 billion shortfall to erase.
The crux of the matter is this: We expect state revenue to rise by 9 percent over the next two years, but our state has committed itself to a 29-percent increase in spending in the same span. I believe $33.5 billion in projected revenue should be more than enough to meet our needs and we'll use the next few months to resolve this problem.
We are on pace to have our House budget targets in place by the March 25 deadline and we expect Gov. Mark Dayton to soon issue an updated plan of his own, taking the new set of numbers into account. Our Constitution states we must have a balanced budget by the time our fiscal year ends in June.
The good news we received today must not distract us from our priorities this session, namely helping Minnesotans return to work and making our state a better place to run a business. Another top priority must remain looking for ways of reforming our government to bring fiscal responsibility to Minnesota.
Please continue to provide me with input as we progress through the session. You can e-mail me at email@example.com.
Rep. Dean Urdahl