This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and I wanted to take a moment to recognize all the incredible work our educators have done to adjust to the demand of this crisis, and support the needs of our students. The work of our educators is critical for setting our students up for lifelong success. To every teacher in our community, thank you for all you do!
Today, Minnesota Management and Budget announced that Minnesota's nearly $1.5 billion forecasted budget surplus has been turned upside down by COVID-19, as was anticipated, and we now have a forecasted $2.426 billion deficit for years 2020 and 2021. You can watch the full forecast release here. This downturn in revenue is the result of changes in consumer and business confidence, lower household wealth with a decline in wages/income, and changes in social behavior resulting from the necessary protective measures needed to successfully respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
As a result of the diligent, and fiscally responsible practices of our state since Governor Dayton assumed office, and further with Governor Walz's leadership and the work of the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Hortman, Minnesota has one of the largest budget reserves of any state in the country. We have anticipated and prepared for an economic downturn, and as a result, we have the tools and economic resiliency we need in order to strategically move forward in a manner that is consistent with our Minnesotan values.
As we continue to navigate through this crisis, we cannot afford to undermine our vital investments in public goods such as funding for education, affordable health services, and relief for business owners and renters. While the economic path ahead remains uncertain and volatile, and there are many difficult decisions ahead of us, we in the legislature will continue working to uplift the lives of all Minnesotans while adjusting to shifting economic circumstances.
Elective Surgeries to Return
Governor Walz also announced that elective procedures will soon be allowed to resume, on the condition that health care providers develop a plan to safely provide these procedures in a manner that is consistent with MDH guidelines.
Toll of COVID-19 Updated
A disease model frequently cited by the White House has doubled the projected total first wave of COVID-19 deaths from around 60,000 deaths forecasted in last month's projections, to over 130,000 deaths projected now. This increase in projected fatalities is based on an assessment that states who are easing social distancing guidelines and permitting high contact businesses to prematurely reopen will result in increases in cases and loss of life.
We continue to work towards reopening our state in a thoughtful, diligent manner that is based on the guidance of public health experts, and the best available information on the progression of this disease. We are not yet to our disease peak, and we still need to continue building our testing capacity. We are moving closer to the horizon of overcoming this disease, but our progress can be lost quickly if we do not continue to maintain the practices that have so far resulted in Minnesota being a leader in combating this disease.
Keep in Touch
Please socially distance if you leave the house, please stay safe, and please stay healthy. As always, I am here to assist you in any way I am able.
Please contact me anytime with questions, input, or ideas. You can reach me on my Facebook page, by phone at 651-296-4212, or by email (preferred and quickest response) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can provide any assistance!
Your Neighbor and State Representative