Two sure signs of spring: fish houses must come off this weekend and the DNR is close to issuing the 2021 fishing season regulations for Mille Lacs Lake.
This week I attended the Mille Lac’s Lake Citizens Advisory Meeting via zoom. DNR officials presented a variety of potential regulation strategies for this year’s season. The advisory group had plenty of questions, comments and recommendations with respect to how to proceed for this spring-summer and next winter fishing season on Mille Lacs.
As background, this year’s summer and 2021/22 allocation is the same as last year’s at 87,800 pounds total over the summer and winter seasons. The DNR is looking at variety of options similar to last year, a formal announcement is likely later in March.
The Minnesota Management & Budget office today issued their updated state economic forecast which projects a $1.6 billion surplus for the 2022-23 budget cycle. This is a sharp turnaround from the $1.3 billion shortfall projected back in December for the same period:
This is generally good news, but we need to fully understand the reasons for this significant turnaround as we work out the details of the state’s 2022-23 budget. We must take a sober look and not assume we are completely on easy street with respect to future state tax revenues. The COVID-19-related federal dollars are one-time money and will not be there indefinitely. Large portions of our economy are still severely restrained by the Gov. Walz’s restrictive emergency orders.
Reduced state spending in education was caused when in-person school attendance was shut down indefinitely by emergency order. Parents chose to home school, move to private schools or with the very young they were held back for year. Those children that had only a public-school option have suffered substantial damage in their progression toward a high school diploma.
Again, this latest news is positive, but it’s premature to assume from a budget perspective we can automatically got back to business as usual. In any case, this surplus should take the steam out of any proposals to raise taxes this session.
MMB indicated the turnaround is due, in large part, to an improved U.S. economic outlook bolstered by large federal actions that have emerged since November. The projected surplus also is related to a higher revenue forecast, lower state spending, and an increased surplus for the current fiscal year.