The non-partisan office of Minnesota Management & Budget released the latest budget and economic forecast for the state last Friday, projecting a $1.2 billion surplus. Minnesota’s economy continues to show progress, and this second consecutive positive budget forecast is more evidence of the state’s steady, incremental growth. Although 2014 is not a budget year, the state’s positive balance provides an opportunity for legislators and the Governor to work together to apply the surplus toward smart investments that will bolster our economic recovery.
While all agree the February Forecast brought good news for our economy, it is also important to respond to the surplus with due caution. We just got out of a decade-long budget crisis and faced a billion dollar deficit only a year ago. Minnesota’s economy is performing well because of the hard-working men and women across the state, and we owe it to them to carefully evaluate all options for any surplus dollars as we position our state for continued growth and prosperity.
As we finally climb out from a decade of deficits and failed budget policies, we can ensure stable, long-term economic growth by making sure our budget reserves, or “rainy day” funds, are robust. Minnesota’s budget reserves are about $1 billion less than they should be, according to the state’s non-partisan fiscal experts.