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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Friday, March 4, 2016

ST. PAUL – When state lawmakers return to the State Capitol in the coming days, they will be tasked will allocating a projected $900 million budget surplus.


This news was revealed by state economists on February 26, and State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) noted the total was lower than what was previously estimated.


"In November our fiscal experts found a $1.2 billion surplus, so economic growth has slowed somewhat in our state," Torkelson said. "Based on this news, it's important that lawmakers are cautious, frugal, and careful with this projected windfall."


According to the Minnesota Management and Budget report, “the sales tax shows the largest dollar amount decrease for FY 2016-17 from the prior estimate, $311 million (2.8 percent). This change reflects lower than expected sales tax receipts so far in FY 2016, the base for this forecast, and weaker projected taxable sales growth in calendar year 2016 and the first half of 2017.”


"To me, this suggests we should be finding ways to allow hardworking Minnesotans to keep more of their money and spend it on themselves, and our tax relief bill from last session remains on the table," Torkelson said. "We'll also be looking at a road and bridge funding proposal that does not raise taxes as well as a bonding bill before session ends. But as we've seen now in the last two forecasts, things can change quickly, so on all three of these topics we'll need to be reasonable and respectful."