ST. PAUL – Minnesota’s latest economic forecast notes a continued state budget deficit; it’s just not as large as once expected.
According to the latest numbers, Minnesota now faces a projected $5.1 billion shortfall for the 2012-13 budget cycle, down from November’s deficit estimate of $6.2 billion.
“The short term numbers are better than we first anticipated,” said State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Nelson Township), “but its clear our economic problems are not going away without making some difficult choices in the next few months.”
Torkelson said that better than projected revenue collections for Minnesota’s income and sales taxes helped improve the budget forecast. But the problem remains out-of-control state spending, which is projected to increase by 29 percent for the next two years. Torkelson noted that without structural reform within state government, spending projections like this will continue, and it will be nearly impossible to avoid deficit projections in the future.
“This increase is unrealistic and unaffordable,” Torkelson said. “It’s pretty sad when your revenues can increase by nearly $1 billion and it does nothing but take a small bite out of the projected deficit. It’s clear we need to reform the way state government works and live within our means because Minnesotans are demanding some fiscal responsibility from their elected officials.”
Torkelson expects the Minnesota House to have a balanced budget approved by the end of March, and added that it will not contain tax increases.