Confusing. That’s how some first time observers of a budget forecast found lawmakers’ reactions to an improved revenue outlook. First, GOP Speaker Kurt Zellers thanked “employers, not the government.” But earlier the state’s budget officials said employers were not hiring, dragging down a recovery and that the federal government’s tax cuts created a billion dollars in new revenue for the state. After questions on that, Senate Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel finally jumped in a summed it up with a straightforward quote “Tax relief + certainty = economic growth.”
Then, DFL leaders were hounded again to answer the question if they support Gov. Dayton’s budget. So we asked with Dayton backing off on an income tax surcharge and cuts to nursing homes if they could conceptually support his new budget plans? House DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen responded “I’ve always said we support the values in the governor’s budget.” Senators will reportedly have a chance to vote on not just the values but the details of the governor’s budget soon. The DFL says the GOP budget targets should be arriving next week.
Some Capitol interns in the room for both press conferences, felt like they saw more politics than policy from the DFL and GOP press conferences. The budget forecast release earlier in the day seemed more factual and easier to understand for them than the two parties’ spin on the numbers.