Minnesota’s budget office reported Monday that the state’s record-breaking surplus is slightly less record-breaking than it was in November — that the previous surplus of $17.6 billion is now only $17.5 billion.
But that would not be an accurate picture of what the updated economic and revenue forecast will reveal when the entire report is released later Monday.
An apples-to-apples comparison between November and today would show that the state surplus actually grew to $19 billion, due to higher-than-forecast collections of individual income taxes and corporate franchise taxes and the impact of those improvements going forward.
But because the DFL-controlled Legislature passed a bill last week to show inflationary impacts differently — moving them from an item at the end of the forecast documents into the program-by-program spending totals — the surplus is shown lower than it would have been before this law change.
In addition, the Legislature has appropriated more than $100 million in spending on a bill to align state tax code with changes in the federal code and to provide additional criminal prosecutors to the state attorney general.
In a toplines release Monday morning, the Minnesota Management and Budget office described state finances as stable, while at the same time reporting the more-robust-than-expected tax collections. Those have been hinted at since the November forecast with actual money-in-the-bank collections increasing by $487 million in just two months.
Also in January, the state’s macroeconomic consultant — IHS Markit — upgraded its projections of economic growth over the period covered by this new state forecast.
Combined, the forecast was likely to reflect higher-than-last predicted tax collections.
The state spends about $2.1 billion a month from its general fund. In addition to any surpluses, the state has a fully topped off rainy day savings account totaling $2.65 billion.