An improving Minnesota economy means lawmakers will have a $1 billion surplus available when they set the next two-year budget.
Revenues for the 2015 fiscal year are now $556 million above earlier projections, Minnesota budget officials said Thursday. On top of that, revenues for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 combined are expected to be $41.880 billion, or a 6.4 percent increase over the current two-year budgeting period. State law requires that $183 million must go directly to the state’s budget reserve, leaving a total $1.037 billion surplus for the 2016-2017 budget.
Minnesota’s unemployment rate dropped down to 3.9 percent in October, the lowest it’s been in eight years.
The surplus will set up the debate next session, when lawmakers have to come to an agreement on a budget plan. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has said he plans to release his 2016-2017 budget on Jan. 27. Legislators wait to craft their budget plans until after the February budget forecast. Republicans will control the state House when the 2015 session starts on Jan. 6, while Democrats are still in power in the state Senate.
A complete budget report will be released at 11 a.m. Dayton and legislative leaders will respond to the new numbers starting at 1 p.m.