I hope all is well and just want to update you with some notebook items.
First of all, congratulations to the Minnewaska school district for earning a $25,000 safe-driving award from State Farm Insurance. Waska was one of just four national winners!
As for news from St. Paul, the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget issued a new economic forecast on Thursday. It calls for a projected state surplus of more than $1 billion through 2016-17.
There are a couple of ways to look at this. On one hand, it is great news that we will have some wiggle room as we set a new two-year state budget during the 2015 session. On the other hand, it indicates hard-working Minnesotans have paid too much in taxes.
The key in 2015 will be to strike a balance. My approach will be to set a budget that funds our priorities without increasing taxes. Just two years ago the current House majority passed the largest tax increase our state has ever seen. That turned into rising revenue for the state, but families have not had the same luxury since earnings have remained flat.
A top priority in the upcoming legislative session should be to provide those people with tax relief instead of rushing out to find new ways to spend their money.
We also should keep in mind our new economic forecast merely provides us with a sketch of budget parameters. Things can change before our next forecast, due in February. That report will serve as the official set of numbers as we set a new budget.
Take care, hope you are getting those Christmas lights up and we’ll be back soon with more news.