The Delano Tigers boys hockey team celebrates with fans after winning the section championship last week in Minneapolis, advancing to this week’s state tournament.
Before we get to legislative business, congratulations to the Delano Tigers for earning their first berth in the state Class A boys hockey tournament! Good luck to the Tigers as they take on another first-timer – Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake – in a battle of Wright County squads 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
As for news from the Capitol, Minnesota Management & Budget recently issued an updated state economic forecast and it projects a $1.65 billion surplus through the 2018-19 biennium – an increase of about $250 million over the previous full forecast issued in December.
This forecast simply underscores the need to provide tax relief and reduce the load on Minnesotans who are being overtaxed by the state. It is a call for the governor to work with the Legislature to enact significant tax reductions this year, while also recognizing the importance of a responsible overall spending total. The report from MMB indicates that, under current law, spending is estimated to ramp up from $41.8 billion this biennium to $44.7 billion in 2018-19.
The Legislature is in the midst of creating a new two-year budget. Meantime, Gov. Mark Dayton proposes taking the spending even higher, to $45.8 billion. That trajectory is unsustainable and look for the House to offer a more responsible spending total.
Decisions we make on the budget this year will have long-lasting impacts and it is our job to be good stewards of the tax dollars our hard-working citizens provide. There is more than enough revenue available to fund our priorities if we stay focused. Furthermore, MMB notes in its report that significant economic risks remain, including federal uncertainty in international trade and health care that could impact our state.
What would he do with $1.65 billion?
The bottom line is the state’s existing budget is large enough. In fact, with $1.65 billion in surplus funds, we could provide robust tax relief and still have more than adequate funding available to support budget priorities such as transportation, education and health care. As long as we stick to what’s important, all this can be accomplished without the double-digit spending increase as the governor proposes.
Deadlines for bills to reach committee milestones in the Legislature are arriving, which means major appropriation and finance bills that will shape our new state budget will move through the committee process in the coming weeks. I will pass along more news as things evolve in St. Paul. For now, click here for a forecast overview from MMP.
Stay in touch and, as always, your thoughts on the issues are welcome. Let’s go, Tigers!