Rep Denny McNamara Capitol Update: I renew my call to provide tax relief

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 03/07/2016

Hello from the State Capitol,

There’s good news from the State Capitol as Minnesota’s February state budget forecast once again shows a positive balance.

For lawmakers, a surplus is good news as it means we don’t have to agonize over budget cuts as we would if Minnesota faced a deficit.

The economic experts project the surplus total for Fiscal Year 2016-17 at $900 million, which is $300 million less than the $1.2 billion windfall estimate given in December. Reasons for the surplus decline include a weaker federal economic outlook and lower consumer spending.

The downturn in the expected surplus should serve as a wakeup call to all lawmakers, recognizing that we need to be extremely cautious when determining how to allocate this windfall. We made all of our budget spending decisions last year, and all state government programs are fully funded throughout this biennium.

Based on this, I renew my call to provide tax relief to the Minnesotans who really need it. Think people like senior citizens, veterans, middle-class working families.

If lawmakers chose to spend all $900 million on more government programs, we would tie the hands of future legislatures by increasing our future financial obligations. For the past three months, we heard nothing but positive news in regards to our economy. Without warning, we dropped $300 million. This shows how quickly our economic condition can change, and we have to use some common sense going forward in regards to spending and use some discretion.

That said, if the decision is made to use some of the surplus on one-time projects – like roads and bridges – this type of spending would have no impact on future budget cycles.

From a lawmaker’s perspective, it’s always better to see a surplus than a deficit. With our tax relief and transportation proposals still awaiting compromises between the House and Senate during the 2016 session, it’s clear there will be no shortage of ideas as to how that surplus should be utilized.

Keep in touch,

Representative Denny McNamara
365 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

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