ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — A bullish budget forecast showing a $1.233 billion surplus added steam Friday to a bipartisan push for tax relief, but also sparked a “bidding war” over how much taxpayers will get back.
Money available for lawmakers to disperse grew by 50 percent from the last forecast a few months ago, according to a much-anticipated report by the Department of Minnesota Management and Budget. It’s the last one to be provided before November’s election, and will guide session decisions.
Majority House Democrats immediately ratcheted up calls for swift passage of a $500 million package of tax cuts and repeals in this election-year session, a position also embraced by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
Dayton held a press conference Friday to talk with reporters about the surplus, which he called great news for the state. He called the surplus a dramatic improvement over previous forecasts.
“Those surpluses did result from thousands more Minnesotans working and earning higher income,” Dayton said. “There’s enough room there for a very significant tax cut. This is going to get into a tax cut bidding war and everyone is going to try to top everyone else.”