Friends and Neighbors,
The Office of Minnesota Management & Budget recently issued a new state economic forecast which projects a $1.6 billion surplus for the 2022-23 budget cycle. This is in stark contrast from the $1.3 billion shortfall projected in December for the same period – a nearly $3 billion turnaround.
This is good news for our state’s economic outlook. We should be grateful for the prompt, bi-partisan economic support and action from the federal government last fall, ensuring regular incomes to many who were impacted negatively by the pandemic.
In the light of Gov. Walz’s recent budget proposal, which significantly increases state spending by more than 9.3% and raised new taxes to support his proposed budget, it is now clear that we don't need to be raising taxes on Minnesotans, especially at a time of surplus. The state should not be seeking to claim yet more tax dollars from the same people it placed restrictions on during recent months, reducing their incomes, forcing many out of work and driving many small businesses into financial ruin, bankruptcy or permanent closures.
Instead, we should now be focusing on the recovery phase of the pandemic and tax increases would only run contrary to that mission by both casting additional burdens on many struggling small businesses that are barely hanging on by a thread and would only serve to stifle further economic growth and recovery, which is necessary for business recovery and jobs lost resulting from the executive order responses to the pandemic.
MMB said the turnaround is due, in large part, to an improved U.S. economic outlook that is bolstered by large federal actions that have emerged since November and were not incorporated in earlier projections. The projected surplus, according to MMB, also is related to a higher revenue forecast, lower state spending, and accordingly an increased surplus for the current fiscal year.