Greetings from Moorhead,
The November Budget Forecast came out yesterday, and projected a positive balance of $1.332 billion for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 biennium. This comes from money left on the bottom line after the last legislative session, a higher than expected budget balance from the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 biennium, higher than expected revenue collections through the end of Fiscal Year 2019, and a slight decrease in overall state spending through the end of Fiscal Year 2019. This positive budget balance is after $242 million went to the state budget reserve, which brought the reserve up to $2.339 billion or about 5% of projected revenues for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 biennium.
This is all good news, but comes with projections of a U.S. economic slowdown into Fiscal Year 2023. The biggest challenge for Minnesota’s economy in the near term is meeting workforce demands. Across the state there are about two vacant jobs for every unemployed person, and the job vacancy rate is at its highest level since 2001.
2020 presents an opportunity to pass a strong Capital Investment Bill, and get people working. Requests for capital investment projects around Minnesota have totaled near $3 billion over the last couple of years. These are bread and butter infrastructure projects that communities need. Any supplemental budgeting done in 2020 should focus on one-time spending. Large, ongoing budget commitments would put the state’s healthy budget into jeopardy.
Thank You for the Opportunity to Serve,