SENATOR JOHN HOFFMAN STATEMENT:
“Today’s announcement of a $1.4 billion budget surplus demonstrates that Minnesota’s economy is stable and enjoys modest growth. But – we must also remember how we got here – through fiscal restraint and saving. DFL policies set a stable course for Minnesota, and I urge newly elected Republican leaders to not over-commit the state to new spending. I also hope we can use this good news to call a special session and find a solution to rising health care premiums, pass a tax bill to provide relief to hardworking Minnesotans, and pass a bonding bill that invests in our local economies.”
DFL Senators are eager to address the skyrocketing individual market premiums and encourage Gov. Dayton to call a special session to address this crisis. The outstanding tax bill, which prioritized working families, and the much-needed bonding bill, if it omits earmarks, are two other bills that are worthy of consideration in a special session.
A lot has changed in the past four years. When the DFL took over the majority we had to dig out from a budget deficit, and we still owed Minnesota schools $1.1 billion that was borrowed by Republicans. We steadied the ship. Working with Republicans, we are ready to continue to make careful and prudent decisions in setting a responsible state budget.
Thirty-three percent or $334 million of the forecast surplus is dedicated to the Rainy Day fund, which Democrats in the Senate fought to put into law, to continue to ensure the long term stability of Minnesota’s budgets and help navigate economic crises. To help ensure stable long-term economic health, we must make sure our budget reserves are robust. With the newest addition of money the reserve fund will sit at $1.9 billion to cushion the state from a future economic downturn.
This year’s strong economic forecast confirms we must continue this path of building a state budget that not only reflects the priorities of all Minnesotans, but continues a path of fiscal constraint. A stable budget is responsible and helps ensure a strong and steady future for Minnesota.
It is great news that Minnesota is finally out of budget deficits, but it is important to remember that the 2016 surplus does not represent ongoing revenue for the state, so we must be careful when applying it toward ongoing financial commitments.
The Senate DFL will continue to fight to help more Minnesotans get on a path to the middle class. We will fight for economic policies and programs that improve incomes for all Minnesotans—no matter where they live in the state. Our policies will not pit Minnesotans nor regions against one another.