While it’s a good thing that our state government has projected a surplus over the next two years, clearly, legislators who think they will have an easy time in the upcoming session should think again.
The $874 million state surplus means the Legislature will have a slightly easier job in January than it did last spring.
However, between the $1.4 billion in payment delays to K-12 schools, a $757 million tobacco bond sale that the state will be paying off in 20 years, a drained reserve and potential changes in federal funding that could negatively impact state revenues, there’s still plenty of work to do.
The bottom line is, the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton need to come to consensus in dealing with the state’s long-term financial issues. It has to be done with either tax increases, spending cuts or a combination of both. Accounting shifts and borrowing, which has stemmed the deficit tide, aren’t going to work any longer. Unwavering stances based on political ideologies won’t work either.
We’re glad there’s a small surplus. But the work of finding consensus still needs to get done, because the state’s financial problems are still there.
— The Albert Lea Tribune