Growing prosperity in greater minnesota

Forecast shows $1.5 billion state budget surplus

Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released the November budget and economic forecast today, which projects a $1.54 billion surplus available for the next two-year budget cycle (Fiscal Year 2020-21). The surplus is the result of $720 million rolled over from the current biennium, along with an $824 million surplus expected in the next biennium. In addition to the available surplus is $350 million that is statutorily dedicated to the state’s rainy day fund, which will now top $2 billion for the first time. The economic forecast does anticipate economic growth to slow and a budget surplus in FY2022-23 of $456 million.

In his response to the budget forecast, Governor-elect Tim Walz prioritized education, health care and investments in communities. DFL legislators, led by House Speaker-designate Melissa Hortman, urged caution and said because inflation is not fully accounted for in the forecast, the coming budget surplus is closer to $350 million. Continue reading

GMNP president moderates legislative panel on child care

Sen. Kent Eken participated in a panel discussion on child care with Sen. Mark Johnson, Sen. Erik Simonson and Rep. Joe Schomacker (not pictured).

Region Nine Development Commission Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, who also serves as president of the GMNP, moderated a legislative panel discussion on child care at the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) annual fall conference on Nov. 15 in Alexandria. Panelists were Sen. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley), Sen. Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks), Sen. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth) and Rep. Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne).

The discussion focused on the child care shortage in Greater Minnesota and ways the Legislature might be able to help mitigate the problem. The discussion touched on the fact that the lack of available child care become a serious barrier to economic growth in Greater Minnesota and some of the issues that contribute to the shortage including regulations, affordability and the struggle to find workers.

You can watch video of the full discussion here. In addition, you can read this Alexandria Echo Press article on the panel discussion here.