Projected surplus should be saved, not spent

Projected surplus should be saved, not spent

As Minnesota’s state legislative session nears its end, legislators are scrambling to figure out what to do with a budget surplus. According to the Minnesota Budget Project, roughly half of Governor Dayton’s proposed budget changes would go to tax cuts, with only a modest 13 percent going to increased spending with the rest to be placed in the budget reserves. The current surplus is projected to be around $1.2 billion, so this seems like a pretty good idea. There is only one thing to remember: this is a projection.

It should be understood that all budgeting is done on projections; this will not be a great epiphany for many of you. What should be clear is that Minnesota’s economic situation is improving, and therefore, the budget revenue will increase more than expected. The other side of the coin is, Minnesota will not be able to fulfill the promises it madeif the economy worsens

Legislators, namely the DFL in charge, should put most of this money into reserves to protect against those hard times. Minnesota has been bitten by economic downturns before, and it wreaked havoc on our education spending. Increasing spending now means altering our spending in ways that are permanent, not temporary. These spending increases would not be one-time increases.

Besides saving money, Minnesota should also consider cutting some of the new taxes put in place, especially taxes on business-to-business transactions that serve as a hidden tax on consumers. These taxes were put in place to shore up Minnesota budget, but it is clear many have gone above and beyond and have grown government instead of merely maintaining it.

Maintaining reserves and a consistent budget are the best practices to maintaining Minnesota’s budget integrity.