I wanted to share with you the statement I put out yesterday regarding Minnesota's budget surplus. As you may have seen, Minnesota is blessed to have a surplus of $1.2 billion (with $594 million in additional surplus money going to budget reserves as required by law). That means government collected $1.2 billion in higher-than-expected tax revenues.
I strongly support using this surplus to provide overdue tax relief to families and fix our roads and bridges. This will be one of the main focuses during the next legislative session, and I will keep you updated on our efforts. I hope you'll email or call me with your input and feedback on what you'd like to see done with the surplus.
Have a great weekend,
MINNESOTA FAMILY BUDGETS, ROADS & BRIDGES ARE PRIORITIES WITH SURPLUS
SAINT PAUL, MN—The Office of Management and Budget (MMB) released their November Economic Forecast Thursday, revealing a projected surplus of $1.871 billion for Fiscal Years 2016-2017. State law requires that $594 million be put into the state budget reserve, leaving an overall projected balance of $1.206 billion. As a result of Republican restraint, $865 million was left on the bottom line following the 2015 Special Session, helping bolster budget reserves and putting Minnesota in strong fiscal shape heading into the new year.
"I'm glad that this surplus will likely put an end to Democrat hopes of raising taxes next session," said Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe. "Republicans will continue to focus on putting this budget surplus back in the pockets of families through significant middle class tax relief and helping to fix our roads and bridges."
"Today's budget news is an opportunity to put Minnesotans first and make their lives better by letting them keep more of their hard-earned dollars," said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. "Instead of increasing government budgets, let's increase family budgets by providing middle-class tax relief during the next session."
"A budget surplus is good news for Minnesota, but an indication that government is over-collecting from taxpayers," added House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers. "We look forward to focusing on the priorities shared by Minnesotans across the state including middle-class tax relief and passing the Republican transportation plan that provides sustainable funding for roads and bridges over the next ten years without increasing the gas tax."
During yesterday's budget press conference, Governor Mark Dayton also declared his signature proposal to increase the state's gas tax "dead."
"I'm pleased that after nine months Governor Dayton has finally come around to our position and ruled out a harmful gas tax increase," added Speaker Daudt. "I'm disappointed that House Democrats refuse to commit to Minnesotans that they won't try to raise the gas tax, and look forward to working with the Senate and the governor to pass our long-term transportation plan that invests $7 billion into roads and bridges without a tax increase."
In 2015, the House passed a 10 year, $7 billion transportation plan that would fix 15,500 lane miles of road and 330 bridges statewide with bipartisan support. The governor and Democratic lawmakers blocked the measure from becoming law because of their insistence on a gas tax increase.