Today, Minnesota Management and Budget released the February Economic Forecast, showing a projected positive balance of $1.6 billion for the upcoming biennium. While the forecast projects a positive balance, it includes inflation on the revenue side and excludes it on the spending side in several key areas. Inflation is estimated to be $1.042 billion. A significant portion of the positive balance is also one-time money.
Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Senate DFL Leader Susan Kent, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, House Ways & Means Chair Rena Moran, and Senate DFL Finance Lead John Marty released the following statements:
“Today’s forecast is good news, but it’s important to recognize that our budget doesn’t currently meet the needs of all Minnesotans. Every day there are Minnesotans who struggle and find it hard to make ends meet while there are others who have more than enough to get by. We must pull together and make the investments all Minnesotans need to recover from the pandemic and thrive once it’s over,” said Speaker Hortman. “Together, we can ensure that Minnesota emerges after this crisis better and stronger than it was before — where everyone has economic security and opportunities to succeed. Our state budget impacts people’s lives. House DFLers remain focused on building a Minnesota that works better for everyone.”
“While today’s budget forecast shows a cautiously hopeful picture of our state’s budgetary future, we must also recognize we have to work together to recover from this pandemic and build a better future for all Minnesotans. COVID-19 has impacted the lives of everyone across the state, with clear evidence that some have been hit much harder than others – namely, our lower-wage workers, small businesses, and students.” said Senate DFL Leader Susan Kent. “Our state budget reflects our shared values, and we must ensure that we support those who have borne the greatest burden. To do this, we need to make investments so that Minnesota can recover from the pandemic, address the growing disparities in our state, and build for a strong future for all. This may require additional funding by asking the wealthiest and most profitable of Minnesotans to pay their fair share. Minnesotans have stepped up and sacrificed for each other throughout this past year in ways that have touched all our hearts. We need to continue to be there for each other to make sure every Minnesotan has the opportunity to thrive.”
“Minnesota received a new budget projection today, and it doesn’t change the fact that Minnesotans’ needs are not being met by current levels of investment,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “This pandemic has not impacted Minnesotans equally. The decisions the Legislature makes this session will determine what kind of state and economy we have after this crisis ends. Do we want a state in which every Minnesotan can get ahead and provide for themselves and their families? Or do we want Minnesota to become a feudal state where the richest corporations and Minnesotans get to decide how much wealth trickles down to the rest of us? The status quo is not working but Minnesota can get it right if we invest in our people.”
“While the state budget outlook has improved, it hasn’t changed the fact that too many workers, families, and small businesses are still struggling due to the pandemic,” said Rep. Rena Moran, Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. “It’s up to lawmakers to step up and make the bold investments Minnesotans are all counting on to ensure they can successfully rebound from this predicament and once again succeed and thrive. With an eye toward equity and a particular focus on helping those who have been impacted the worst, we can pull through this challenge together and emerge stronger.”
“Today’s forecast makes it clear – we can make meaningful investments in Minnesotans. It is not an economic recovery if it leaves behind the families and people that our economy depends on – frontline workers, grocery store employees, teachers, service industry workers, or any of the other countless Minnesotans affected by this pandemic, said Senator John Marty, DFL Lead on the Senate Finance Committee. “Far too many Minnesotans are still struggling to make ends meet and we have an obligation to support those hit the hardest by making smart investments that help communities recover from the effects of COVID-19, address growing disparities, and build a Minnesota that works better for all of us.”