ST. PAUL – State economists announced recently that Minnesota is projected to face a $373 million budget shortfall for the 2008-2009 budget cycle.
“A budget deficit is bad news for Minnesotans. It means either state government is spending too much or the economy isn’t performing at anticipated levels,” said State Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Wabasha). “It’s especially troubling when you consider the state had a $2.2 billion surplus just nine months ago. Unfortunately, that surplus was rolled into this biennium’s budget.”
Drazkowski said a balance of $294 million had previously been expected. But a weaker economic forecast contributed to the deficit projection.
Because of this, state economists say our 08-09 projected revenues are down $739 million, while state spending over the same period is up by $66 million.
“This deficit clearly illustrates that now is the time for state government to live within its means and hold the line on spending,” Drazkowski said. “Further, raising taxes will only worsen the problems in our economy. There is money available in our budget reserves to help in eliminating the shortfall. So by tightening our belts a bit, we should be able to manage this deficit.”
“Deciding last spring to spend the $2.2 billion surplus was not the prudent thing to do. Minnesota’s economy suffered because of it. We have seen clearly that the size of government is too big for Minnesota’s families to afford.” Drazkowski concludes, “It’s time to set priorities and to begin paring government and taxes back, so that families can recover.”