Sometimes issues at the Capitol are portrayed in so many different lights that it is hard to keep track of reality. Our work on the budget is a prime example and maybe it’s easiest if we just let the facts do the talking.
Heres a quick summary:
We have until Monday, May 23 to wrap up our work in the Legislature and adjourn on time, per the Constitution.
The House was on the floor for somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 hours between Tuesday and the wee hours of Thursday as we finished work on our budget bills and sent them to the governor for his action.
Our plan erases Minnesota’s $5 billion shortfall without raising taxes by limiting spending to $34 billion. The governor has proposed raising taxes and increasing state spending to around $36 billion.
House members began this session focusing on keeping spending level into the next biennium. We have a $30.2 billion budget in the current cycle, $32.5 if you count one-time stimulus money from the feds.
A new economic forecast was issued in February and it shows the state will receive $34 billion in revenue during the upcoming two-year cycle. The House compromised with its budget to accommodate that new information, but still protected taxpayers by setting spending within the means of that $34 billion.
I remain optimistic we will find a budget solution in the final days or hours of this session and emerge with something Minnesotans can support. But I urge the governor to rethink his stance on raising taxes to feed more government growth.
Please continue sending me your emails on this issue and others as we make our way toward Monday. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org.