MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The forecast for Minnesota’s budget outlook is much less sunny than in recent years.
The state projected a $1.6-billion surplus last spring, but that could balloon into $586-million deficit by 2021. So what happened?
As politicians pointed fingers at each other Tuesday, they did find one area of common ground: all sides agree uncertainty in Washington, D.C. could dramatically change that projection.
Even though all sides agree the deficit picture could shift dramatically in the next few months, there was plenty of blame being dished out for a projected deficit of $188 million starting in 2018-2019.
“I pretty strongly advised the governor the last night of the special session not to sign the tax bill because it wasn’t sustainable,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk.
He blamed Republicans, and even Gov. Mark Dayton, for the tax cut bill.
“I’m not happy that I was right,” Bakk said.
Republicans put the blame on too much spending.
“We’ve frankly spent too much. Republicans have been battling that increased spending for years,” said Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said. “You’re starting to see those chickens coming home to roost.”
Gov. Dayton sounded a conciliatory tone, pledging to work with Republicans to balance the budget.
“I’m not casting any blame on anyone here,” Dayton said. “We collectively cut state taxes and increased spending.”
But all sides agreed the GOP tax bill currently being negotiated in Washington, as well as other Trump administration policies, could change everything.
The Commissioner of Management and Budget Myron Frans put it this way: “We will have better information in February … and who knows. In February, maybe the Vikings will actually win the Super Bowl.”
February is actually the month when the next budget forecast is expected.
The bottom line: this budget deficit figure is 100-percent certain to change by then. The problem is it may look a lot bigger, or it may look a lot smaller — and maybe the Vikings will have won the Super Bowl.