The good news announced recently, that Minnesota’s tax revenues exceeded expectations in November and December, prompted us to think boldly. Maybe this would be a good time for the Minnesota Legislature to build up its Rainy Day fund.
The fund is designed to help the state weather the natural ups and downs of the economy and possibly prevent the budget deficits that have plagued lawmakers in recent years at the outset of each session. A Rainy Day fund is a smart management tool that makes a lot of sense, but listening to Brainerd area lawmakers at Thursday’s Eggs and Issues event (sponsored by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber) we get the feeling Rainy Day fund proponents may have to wait in line before it’s built up to a respectable level.
Paying back the money that was appropriated from the school districts is the top priority. No argument there. By law, the school districts go to the front of the line now that the state has a projected budget surplus.
There also seems to be consensus to repeal last session’s warehouse tax and perhaps some other business-to-business taxes. Sentiment was also heard Thursday to repeal a telecommunications tax since the expansion of broad band capacity to outstate communities is seen as a priority. If those taxes are repealed, revenue will have to be found from some source in order to balance the budget.
And the latest report on MNsure’s website catastrophe almost makes it a cinch that additional state dollars are going to be spent to make that a functioning entity.
Rep. Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby, hinted that with all of the pressing, must-be-paid needs of the state, there might not be much left over to bolster the Rainy Day fund.
We can’t fault our lawmakers for talking straight about the budget, but that did they really have to rain on our parade when it comes to the Rainy Day fund?