To the editor,
We recently received an updated full economic report for our state. Minnesota Management & Budget projects $1.086 billion in surplus revenue over the 2014-15 budget and a $2.2 billion surplus for 2016-17.
The responsible decisions we made as Republican majorities while setting the budget in 2011 continue producing results. We, along with Gov. Mark Dayton, eliminated a $5 billion shortfall, generated $3.46 billion in more-than-anticipated revenue the last two years and helped our economy begin recovering from the Great Recession.
That growth is remarkable and it was accomplished without tax increases. Dayton and other Democrats took a different approach this year, raising taxes and fees by around $2.5 billion and increasing state spending by historic levels.
Some of the $1.086 billion in surplus revenue will be used to fully repay debt to our schools. Another chunk will go to the state airports fund, restoring money originally borrowed in 2008.
That leaves $825 million remaining and a huge discussion over what to do with it. The right thing to do is eliminate some of the excessive, unnecessary tax increases Dayton and Democrats passed this year. Taxes on equipment repairs, warehousing and telecommunications all are damaging, unpopular and should be considered for repeal. Dayton has expressed interest in eliminating ill-advised laws on the books and eliminating these taxes would be a good place to start.
This economic forecast provides a look at the future, but Legislators will wait to formalize plans until our next full report is received, around the time the 2014 session begins Feb. 25. The surplus projection may rise or fall and it is important to remember this new budget has only been in place since July.
In any case, the last thing we should want to see is this taxpayer revenue treated as free money by the Legislature. This is money government took from the private sector and that is where it should be returned, so it can circulate through our local economies.
I will keep you posted as this issue develops. Click here for the full report from MMB.
Rep. Joe McDonald