Minnesota budget forecast improves, projected surplus tops $9.2B

(KSTP) – Minnesota’s budget and economic forecast have improved again.

The Minnesota Department of Management and Budget (MMB) released a summary of its latest economic forecast Monday, showing an improvement of $1.507 billion, moving the current projected surplus to $9.253 billion. The department will release further details Monday afternoon.

The latest budget forecast in December showed Minnesota at a record $7.7 billion budget surplus.

MMB cited higher income, consumer spending and corporate profit forecast as the reason for the improved revenue projection and an improved budget forecast.

The department cited inflation and the current Russia-Ukraine conflict as threats to the state’s budget and economic outlook, moving forward.

Gov. Tim Walz is also set to talk about the updated budget forecast during a news conference Monday afternoon.

Walz met with city officials and community groups in Brooklyn Park last week.

Walz said he wants to use $300 million of the projected surplus on grants for communities to help fight crime.

“Empowering community groups to work hand-in-hand, and to move upstream, and this attitude of we can’t allow violent crimes to increase, we can’t allow our children to be involved with this and we can’t allow shootings on the streets and there’s a whole spectrum of things we should be doing here together,” Walz said.

In the Minnesota Senate, two bills were debated that would aim to provide bonuses to law enforcement officers.

One bill would provide up to $10,000 bonuses to peace officers who perform “acts of heroism or valor” or other actions above the call of duty. The other bill would provide one-time bonuses to law enforcement officers of $1,500 to thank them for their service in difficult times and higher bonuses of up to $5,000 for officers over the age of 50.

“Are the Republicans also planning to offer bonuses in the education committee for teachers who continue to serve?” Sen. Sandy Pappas (D-St. Paul) said. “Because I know we do have teachers that have been leaving.”

In response, Sen. Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) said, “I know that I wanted to focus on public safety. I just felt like that was the most critical issue right now and so that’s where I put my focus. But it would not surprise me if there were bills for some of the other professions that you mentioned.”

No votes were taken on those Senate bills but they will be considered for inclusion in a larger public safety bill later this session.

There is also a proposal from Republicans to offer tax cuts with the budget surplus.