REP. DAVID BLY SAYS FEBRUARY FORECAST SETS DIRECTION
The February budget forecast was released today and Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield) said that although the outlook has not changed much since November, the new forecast provides clarity and direction for the months ahead.
"State revenues took a slight dip, but not enough to change the lay of the land," Bly said. "Now that we know what resources we have to work with, we can focus on providing a quality education to every child, expanding access to affordable health care and delivering permanent property tax relief."
Bly also noted that the budget surplus is not as robust as sometimes reported, due to inflation and the inclusion of one time money.
"There has been a lot of talk about a two billion dollar surplus," he said. "But that’s a little misleading. One billion of that surplus is one-time money, which means we can't use it to make long term changes to state programs. The rest of the surplus is practically eaten up by inflation."
Bly said that the small surplus left over after accounting for inflation and taking out one-time money isn't enough to make significant changes to state programs.
Basically, the good news is that we aren't going to have to make any cuts, but we don't have enough money to do everything we want either. We are going to have to have a serious conversation about priorities."
The budget forecast also showed a weakening in the economic conditions in the state, and Rep. Bly expressed concern about the employment statistics. New revisions included in the forecast show that job growth was flat in the month of January.
"The new economic numbers are troubling," he said. "They bring attention to the need to reinvest in the things that make Minnesota an attractive business location: quality schools and adequate transportation."