If Rachel Stassen-Berger’s article is accurate, the first logical question is whether Gov. Dayton was frightened into this budget. Here’s the portion of the Strib article I’m referring to:

The two-year, $35 billion state budget plan Dayton will release Tuesday is far from becoming reality.

Gov. Dayton said repeatedly that we were staring at “a $6.2B deficit.” I continually disputed that, with robust help from Mitch Berg. The St. Cloud Times even published my LTE saying that:

This biennium, Minnesota’s general fund budget is scheduled to spend $30.7 billion. The Department of Revenue said in its November forecast that Minnesota’s revenue will increase by between $1.5 billion and $2 billion To have a $6.2 billion deficit, Minnesota would have to spend almost $39 billion, an increase of 26.5 percent from the current biennium’s spending.

Based on Ms. Stassen-Berger’s reporting, Gov. Dayton won’t be proposing nearly as big a budget as he led us to believe during his SOS speech.

This is vindication for me. I said that we didn’t have a “$6.2B deficit”, that it’d require a general fund budget approaching $39,000,000,000 to reach that big of a deficit. We’re still waiting on the February forecast, too. Rumor has it that February’s forecast will be even more favorable than November’s forecast. If that’s the case, the forecast deficit might be less than $2,000,000,000.

If that’s the deficit, enacting reforms from Dan Fabian, King Banaian and Steve Gottwalt might be enough to balance the budget without a tax increase. That’s before tackling unfunded mandate reform and other GOP reforms in the hopper.

That’s before asking the question of whether we should increase spending that much. I wouldn’t support that big a spending increase, especially with the economy this fragile. Before increasing spending, we’d better talk about refilling the state’s reserve funds. Before increasing spending, we’d better have a serious discussion about reforming how government delivers constitutionally mandated services.

As Mitch points out in this post, there’s still a possibility that Gov. Dayton’s proposed budget won’t balance:

Mark Dayton is scheduled to present his budget tomorrow.

The question, as I see it, isn’t so much “how will he balance the budget” as it is “how far off from balanced will his proposal actually be?”

There’s another question worth asking, Mitch, namely whether his special interest allies will scold him after promising them tons of new spending during his SOS speech.

If Gov. Dayton doesn’t insist on his job-killing tax increases, the legislature could wrap up this budget relatively early, leaving time for cost-saving policy reviews and redistricting.

If, however, Gov. Dayton insists on killing Minnesota’s economy with his tax increases, this will be a tough slog.

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3 Responses to “Dayton Frightened Into His Budget?”

  • walter hanson says:

    Gary:

    When I trid to use the contact link it didn’t work. I’v been hearing commercials this week an the lady appeared on Sue’s radio show during the weeked that Gottwalt is proposing health exchanges to implement Obamacare. You like to defend Steve. Any idea what’s up with this proposal that’s suppose to have a hearing tomorrow?

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Gary Gross says:

    It’s quite simple: Twila Braase is dead wrong. She should talk with Steve first before making such statements.

  • walter hanson says:

    So Obamacare isn’t mentioned at all in the bill? She said it was mentioned like forty times and the Secretary Of Human Services something like twenty times.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

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