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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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State budget at a surplus

Monday, December 5, 2011
To the editor, It is rewarding to see the difficult decisions we made as a new majority this year already begin to pay dividends in the form of a nearly $900 million surplus. After four years of recurring budget shortfalls under the previous Legislature, our new majority focused on fiscal responsibility and cost containment when we took over last January. We erased a $5 billion shortfall and enacted significant reforms to reduce projected state spending and put us on a better path. The latest economic forecast was recentlyh released and it shows we are $876 million in the black. An updated forecast will be issued in February and let’s hope this positive trend continues as our reforms have even more time to take root. I imagine people will have many opinions as to how our projected surplus should be spent, but there are laws which dictate how it must be appropriated if certain conditions exist. We must bear in mind the string of shortfalls the previous majority led us through drained our reserves and caused us to shift and/or borrow funds. The “new” money will mainly be applied to restoring our reserves. This recent budget news is good and we are outperforming the country as a whole, but our work in this area must continue in order to meet today’s economic challenges. For example, small businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy, yet Minnesota consistently ranks among the nation’s worst business climates. We can do more to get government out of the way of small businesses and reform property taxes so they can thrive and create jobs. Sincerely, Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen
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