A new state forecast shows Minnesota’s deficit for the next two years not stands at $5 billion dollars. That’s more than a billion dollars smaller than the previous projection.
The forecast released by state budget officials today dropped the projected budget deficit from 6.2 billion dollars to 5 billion. House Speaker Kurt Zellers raising taxes as Governor Mark Dayton has proposed will only reverse the improvement.
“Whether its environmental, whether its tax, whether its business regulation, the one thing we have heard from our employers in Minnesota, and actually we’ve heard this around the country, is quit messing around with stuff,” Zellers said. “That uncertainty is what leads them to then look for someplace else.”
Zellers and GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch also reemphasized that they won’t support tax increases to balance the state’s budget. They said Republicans still believe the best way to balance the budget is to cut spending.
“Our priorities remain the same,” Koch said. “The priorities we set out were private sector job growth, it was reining in government spending, living within our means, and the third piece was government reform. And so these numbers, while improved certainly, you know that message is what we have to continue to talk about going forward.”
Koch says they will release their proposed budget targets by March 10th.
The state economist threw some cold water on the GOP budget approach. Tom Stinson said a cuts alone solution would do slightly more to harm to the economy than a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, which is proposed by Dayton. House Speaker Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove sidestepped questions about Stinson’s analysis. Zellers said he thinks the forecast had a clear message about taxes.
DFL governor Mark Dayton responded to the new forecast by pulling back on a temporary income tax surcharge he had proposed as part of his budget fix.