Just the Facts, Ma’am – The Budget Surplus
Recently, articles and commentary have made spurious attempts to call into question the validity of the $1.2 billion surplus in our state budget for the current 2012-13 biennium.
Here are the facts:
Don’t just take our word for it. According to the Minnesota Management and Budget’s two most recent budget announcements for 2012-13, from November 2011 and February 2012. Note that the surpluses described in the two announcements sum up to, when added together, $1.2 billion. This is a turn around from the $6.2 billion deficit in the November 2010 budget forecast.
Also note that Minnesota Management and Budget’s forecast for the upcoming biennium shows a 6% increase in state revenues, amounting to $2 billion. The February 2012 announcement showed 2012-13 projected revenue of $33.8 billion, and showed 2014-15 projected revenue of $35.8 billion.
So, as we head into our next budget with flush reserves and $2 billion of new money, I am confident we can fund our priorities with no cuts, and make significant progress toward paying back the school shift. I will also push very hard for the small business tax relief we passed last year which was vetoed by Governor Datyon. The $1.1 billion projected deficit you see is based on the projected growth in spending to $36.8 billion, an increase of $3 Billion or 9%.
As for the talking point that the Republican-controlled legislature “balanced the budget on the backs of education,” nothing could be further from the truth. The DFL-controlled legislature and then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty borrowed $1.4 billion of one-time money from our schools. In addition, the budget compromise with the Governor accepted his $700 million of additional one time money borrowed from our schools. The good news is that $318 million of that has been repaid and sent back to our schools in July this year. The legislature also passed legislation to send the remaining $382 million back to our schools. Unfortunately, this was vetoed by DFL Governor Mark Dayton.
As a former teacher I was well aware that a one time delay in a portion of the funding to schools, was better than a permanent reduction in funding, I knew that the delay in some of the payment could cause schools to face a cash flow problem. That is why I successfully fought to add additional funds to the per pupil formula of $150 per pupil for the biennium For example, this was nearly $1.8 million of new funding to the Rochester public schools. We will continue to make significant progress toward paying back the one time money borrowed from schools.
Click here for Minnesota Management and Budget’s two most recent budget announcements for 2012-13. Note: the surpluses described in the two announcements are additive: