ST. PAUL, MINN – The state’s lawmakers will be returning to the Capitol in 2015 to a projected surplus of $1.037 billion, according to Minnesota’s State Economist, Laura Kalambokidis. Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood), chair of the Senate Education Finance Committee says the surplus is a good thing for the state and for areas in the budget that could use a little extra investment this session.
“This surplus is a sign that our honest and balanced budget strategy from the past two years is working, and businesses and families are benefiting from the policies put in place over the last two years. I look forward to working on an education budget that will work for all Minnesota school children,” said Sen. Wiger.
The Minnesota Management and Budget Office (MMB) reports the surplus came from a combination of higher than expected revenues and lower spending. The savings came primarily from lower Medical Assistance spending which helped add significantly to the budget forecast. According to forecast data, 25 percent more adults without kids enrolled in Medical Assistance while fewer families with children and elderly and disabled people enrolled.
In a statement released to the media on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) said the following.
“Minnesota has faced structural deficits every biennium since 2001. Democratic leadership is responsible for getting our state off the economic rollercoaster and creating long-term stability,” Sen. Bakk said. “We can see from today’s forecast that the work of the last two years to create a structurally balanced budget put the state on sound financial footing—which is why we find ourselves with a surplus today. This will allow us to continue to invest in the priorities we all share as Minnesotans.”
“While the budget surplus is a good thing for Minnesota, it’s important to consider inflation on current budget commitments which will take up a good portion of the surplus. Additionally, it’s important to remember that these numbers are still projection, we won’t know the fully economic picture until the numbers are released in February,” cautioned Wiger.
For more information on the November Forecast or any other legislative concerns, Sen. Wiger can be reached at email@example.com or by calling his office at (651) 296-6820.