Minnesota’s strong economy and an anticipated savings in health care costs are expected to leave the state with a $1.5 billion budget surplus for the next two years, a dramatic increase from a projection earlier this year.

Budget numbers released Thursday “show a remarkable recovery from the financial shambles in which I took office eight years ago,” said outgoing Gov. Mark Dayton, who came into office facing a $6.2 billion deficit, drained reserves and late payments to public schools. Incoming Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, will take over in January in a strong position to start working on some of his campaign vows, including boosting educational spending, expanding publicly funded health care and new money for transportation. Republican leaders, meanwhile, are already pushing for tax cuts. Minneapolis Star Tribune

See the full report at Minnesota Management and Budget

Several groups and lawmakers responded to the news. Click on them to read their statements:

Rep. Jennifer Schultz: 

“This forecast shows some good news in the short term, but our budget balance on paper ignores some real challenges our state will face in the coming years. Particularly, with next year’s scheduled sunset of the health care provider tax, by Fiscal Year 2022, we could see a shortfall of $1 billion in resources available to ensure low-income and vulnerable Minnesotans have access to the health care they need. This would be unacceptable, and I’m committed to addressing this looming loss of revenue so we can ensure this critical coverage can continue.

“Minnesotans deserve a state government that’s honest, effective and accountable, while delivering an excellent quality of life. Having excellent, affordable health care available to all Minnesotans is a big piece of this and as part of the new House DFL majority, I’m committed to ensuring this continues to be a reality.”

Governor-elect Tim Walz:

“Today’s budget forecast is a testament to the incredible work of Governor Mark Dayton. I am humbled to follow in his footsteps, and I pledge to continue his legacy of fiscal stability.”

“This forecast shows a strong foundation on which we can build One Minnesota. Our recent listening tour made clear that Minnesotans are hungry for a government that puts people before politics. They are ready to find common ground, tackle the challenges in their communities, and build a better life for everyone.”

“Our budget will reflect the priorities of the people of Minnesota. Under my leadership, Minnesota will be the education state. We will work tirelessly to ensure every child, no matter their race or zip code, receives a high-quality education. We will increase access to affordable health care. We will help provide local communities with the tools they need to ensure they aren’t just surviving, they are thriving.”

“I look forward to working across the aisle to further these priorities. Together, we can make One Minnesota a reality.”

Americans for Prosperity

Republican Party of Minnesota