Today, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released the November budget forecast which revealed a budget surplus of $7.7 billion for the FY 2022-2023 biennium. In response, Senator John Marty, Minority Lead on the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement:
“Today’s state budget forecast provides excellent news. In these economically volatile times, amidst a long-running pandemic, this financial news is a positive shot in the arm.
The forecast provides a huge opportunity, and the unexpected gain in revenue is wonderful news. But a housing shortage around the state, along with COVID-19, has created an economic emergency for many working families. We have ongoing hospital and healthcare problems, and our nursing homes and daycare providers face big financial needs. Schools, which have faced so many extra challenges during COVID-19, barely kept up with inflation in the last budget. Additionally, climate change is a crisis that needs immediate action.
There are growing economic disparities in Minnesota that have been aggravated by the pandemic. Many corporations have seen record profits – as is clearly illustrated in this forecast – yet too many families are economically stressed, struggling to afford housing and food. The state still has not addressed the additional risks faced by essential workers who kept the economy running during the pandemic. We must ensure that all Minnesotans thrive.
As past forecasts have not always been reliable projections of how the economy will fare, we must remember that this is a forecast, not a guarantee. This is important to recognize, because twenty-two years ago, the state made a series of unwise decisions in the face of good financial news. The legislature passed deep tax cuts that ultimately hamstrung our schools and significantly set back housing, health, transportation, and other public needs for most of the following decade. Let’s not repeat that mistake.
Republican calls for spending enormous amounts of money on tax cuts and unemployment insurance would spend much of this revenue before the state has a chance to address the needs of the workers who built this economy and to build the human infrastructure needed for the future.
Our duty is to be wise stewards of all public resources. I look forward to working together on a responsible plan that meets the needs of Minnesotans now and invests in building a brighter future for all.”