Representative McNamara’s Capitol Update: Minnesota’s economy continues to improve

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 3/1/2013

Hello from the Capitol,

The big news of the week is that Minnesota’s economy continues to improve. We have now had positive budget forecasts since 2010, including the most recent forecast that was unveiled on February 28.

According to the state economists, Minnesota now has nearly $300 million more than previously projected for the budget cycle that ends this summer. That money is already spent, as state law directs $290 million of that amount to buy back the K-12 school shift, with $5 million being placed in Minnesota’s budget reserve. That means our reserve balance is now $649 million, and it means we’re taking another chunk out of the school shift that was first enacted four years ago.

More good news was found in the forecast for the 2014-15 budget cycle. While we’re not out of the woods yet, Minnesota’s projected deficit continues to shrink. Lawmakers now have to eliminate a $627 million shortfall. Two years ago, that deficit was projected at nearly $4.5 billion. In December, we were told it would be $1.1 billion, so this is great progress.

Finally, economists say we will be out of the woods during the next budget cycle in 2016-17. If we just continue on the path we’re on, the budget experts expect Minnesota to have a $782 million surplus for that two year period.

That said, it looks doubtful that we will continue traveling down this road we paved two years ago. The new Democrat majority seems very intent on raising taxes and spending this year, undoing many of the live-within-our-means policies the Republican-led legislature enacted during the last cycle.

As we watch our economy continue to trend in a positive way, we need to have a serious discussion as to whether this is the time to grow government and expand its role in our lives. If my emails and phone calls are any indication, the broad tax increases found in Governor Dayton’s tax proposal have many of you concerned.

With our economy continuing its steady improvement, and with the news that we could have a nearly $1 billion budget surplus during our next budget cycle if we just leave taxes and spending alone, it’s my belief that we should focus on growing and creating private sector jobs at this session – not government.

In other news, my legislative survey has been mailed and should be arriving at your home any day now. If you haven’t received it, you can visit my House webpage at www.house.mn/54B and click on “2013 Legislative Survey.”

Also, the South Washington County Telecommunications Commission visited with me recently and produced a legislative video here at the Capitol. If you’re interested in watching, just click here.

Keep in touch,
Denny

Representative Denny McNamara
359 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn

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