Congrats to the ROCORI football team for being named the Central White District academic champion with a 3.38 GPA for the entire 10-12 grade team!
As for legislative notes, Minnesota Management & Budget on Tuesday issued a budget forecast which calls for a $641 million state revenue surplus through June 30, reversing a previously projected $2.4 billion shortfall. A $1.3 billion shortfall remains for the 2022-23 biennium, but even that marks a significant improvement from earlier predictions of a $4.7 billion budget gap.
This forecast certainly is brighter than the dire outlook projected in recent months as state expenditures dropped and the loss of income-tax revenue was less than previously projected. There was a $919 million drop in Health and Human Services spending, resulting from lower-than-expected Medical Assistance utilization, lower-than-expected overall program utilization, and federal spending that helped cover portions of our public programs. There also was a $118 million reduction in education spending because of lower public school enrollment as parents sought educational alternatives for their children or delayed the start of kindergarten.
Furthermore, tax revenues were greater than expected, in large part because our economy has been rebounding and income tax revenue did not fall as sharply as earlier anticipated. This improved bottom line will be helpful as we continue working on delivering relief to Main Street businesses that have been disproportionately damaged by restrictions that have been placed upon them.
In other news, this week I was elected to serve as an assistant minority leader for Minnesota House Republicans during the upcoming biennium. I am incredibly honored to have so quickly earned the respect and trust of caucus mates who selected me for such an important position. It inspires me to continue working my hardest on behalf of District 13A residents specifically, and people throughout the state in general. I look forward to the upcoming session where my new role will be helpful in advocating for policies and positions that best serve my constituents.
My priorities for the upcoming biennium are to continue working to help our families and businesses recover from the pandemic and working on issues concerning childcare and education.
The 2021 legislative session is set to begin Jan. 5 in St. Paul, so look for more of my thoughts on those issues and others we face as things ramp up. As always, your input is welcome.