“Our budget standing was one of the uncertainties coming into the 2018 session, as fiscal projections were on the pessimistic side,” Schomacker said. “The surplus is good news for us as it gives us a clearer path towards crafting a supplemental budget.”
According to the state’s economic analysts, rising general sales tax projections, up by $119 million, and corporate tax projections, up $131 million, are the top reasons for Minnesota’s budget surplus projection.
Minnesota also has its lowest unemployment rate in 17 years. Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.1 percent, 1.0 percentage point below the national rate and 0.9 percentage points lower than a year ago. Schomacker said there are now fewer unemployed job-seekers than open positions across the state. The ratio of unemployed persons to job vacancies statewide has hovered between 1.0 and 1.2 for the last three years, but it is now less than one at 0.9.
With a $329 million surplus to be allocated, Schomacker said Governor Dayton will share his updated budget proposal in the coming days, and expects the Minnesota House to have its plan ready for debate by the end of the month.
“By the time we adjourn, our budget must be balanced,” Schomacker said. “We’ll now spend the next several weeks determining what proposals merit moving forward in the legislative process.”