On Friday of last week, the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget (MMB) released their February budget forecast. According to MMB, Minnesota has a positive budget balance of $1.6 billion over the next biennium. This is due to increased federal funding to state and local governments as well as reduced state spending, leaving Minnesota in a better fiscal place than they previously projected. The first forecast to take into account the effects of COVID-19 projected a $2.4 billion deficit, which improved to a positive budget balance of $636 million in November. Through the past three months, MMB has looked at the varying factors that gave Minnesota its final forecasted budget that lawmakers will use to draft the next biennium budget.
While this forecasted budget balance is an improvement, it is important to note that the better news is not being felt by many Minnesotans. Many workers who relied on part-time positions are still unemployed or have had reduced hours for the past year. Senate DFLers remain committed to investing in our state economy to supplement areas the federal level has not, to help Minnesotans still struggling from the effects of the past year.
While Senate DFLers are looking to help struggling Minnesotans, Senate Republicans continue to prioritize divisive policy that do nothing to address the needs of working families. With a budget forecast reliant on one-time investments by the federal government, it will be necessary for Minnesotans to invest in their infrastructure and education to best continue recovery efforts for the state from the effects from COVID-19.