Updated Feb 28, 2022 - Politics

Minnesota's projected budget surplus grows to $9.25 billion

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Photo: Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Minnesota's projected budget surplus has grown to more than $9.25 billion, according to state officials.

The big picture: The revised projection, up $1.5 billion since December, will intensify jockeying at the Legislature over what to do with the extra cash.

Driving the growth: Higher-than-expected income and corporate receipts and consumer spending, plus dips in anticipated spending on schools and Health and Human Services programs prompted the revision, according to the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget.

Yes, but: The longer-term health for the state's finances could still shift based on the broader U.S. economy, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and other factors.

  • "Uncertainty due to inflation and geopolitical conflict pose risk to the budget and economic outlook," MMB notes.

The response: Gov. Tim Walz pitched tripling his proposed one-time rebate checks, to $500 for singles and $1,000 for couples, and he said he's open to considering some sort of tax cut.

  • Republicans doubled down on their plan to pass permanent ongoing tax cuts.
  • Democrats urged caution as they renewed calls for bigger bonuses for the pandemic's frontline workers.

Flashback: The last budget forecast, released in December, pegged the surplus for the biennium at roughly $7.7 billion.

  • That was a big reversal from the start of the pandemic, when state economists thought Minnesota could find itself more than $1 billion in the red.

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