By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 3/3/2017
Hello from the State Capitol,
State lawmakers received some good news recently as we learned Minnesota is facing another positive economic forecast.
Our fiscal experts say our state now has a $1.65 billion budget surplus. This is $250 million more than was expected from our previous budget forecast that was released near the end of 2016.
Going inside the numbers, tax revenues are forecast to be $321 million more than the November estimate. Nearly 81 percent ($274 million) of the increased tax revenues are from individual income earners. But that revenue growth is offset by $156 million more in spending than projected. That includes $95 million in E-12 education and $73 million in health care, due to more people using these services.
An improved U.S. economic outlook and positive numbers for key economic data points such as personal income growth, employment, and consumer spending also contributed to the additional surplus revenue.
In addition to the current surplus for Fiscal Year 2018-19, our economists are projecting a $2.1 billion surplus for the 2020-2021 biennium.
I was pleasantly surprised to see these figures. With this sizable surplus, some will inevitably call for more spending within state government. While its true that we do have some projects that need to be funded this year, particularly when it comes to roads and bridges, I think it’s important that we don’t spend it all and be fiscally responsible.
To me, when you continue to have repeated budget surplus projections it’s a sign that you’ve taken too much money from the taxpayers. I’d like to see us focus on tax relief for the middle class and give the people who created the surplus a financial break.
Last week I was able to participate in the Hastings Tourism event at City Hall and join other area lawmakers for a tour of Flint Hills Resources. Thank you for the invitations!
In St. Paul, I visited with Hastings resident Jamie Tharp with Pulte Homes representing the Builders Association of America.
I also visited with Afton residents Joan and Richard Meierotto and Kimberly Scott.
Latasha Schipper, Richard Welshons & David Welshons of DCA Title in Hastings stopped by on behalf of the Minnesota Land Title Association.
Cindy Toppin with Safe Passage Minnesota visited in order to advocate for children to reach their full potential.
This week also marked Minnesota Building Trades Day at the Capitol, and I’d like thank local carpenters, laborers, and electricians for stopping in.
Have a good weekend,
Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155