ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota's budget surplus continues to grow, according to the last forecast released Monday by the Minnesota Management and Budget Office (MMB).
The revised general fund surplus is now projected to be $9.253 billion for the 2022-23 fiscal year, an increase of more than $1.5 billion over previous estimates.
State budget officials credit the increased surplus to "higher income, consumer spending, and corporate profit forecast," as well as reduced spending in education and Health and Human Services.
MMB said those revenue and spending projections are mostly one-time cases, but "the structural balance in the FY 2024-25 planning estimates remains positive and largely unchanged from November."
Budget officials caution that inflation and "geopolitical conflict," like the current Russian invasion in Ukraine and resulting sanctions on Russia, could have an impact on the overall economic outlook for the country and Minnesota.
The projection announced today was based on modeling and calculations done before the invasion of Ukraine.
The full February Budget and Economic Forecast is available on the MMB website.
"This is a good position for Minnesota to be in," Gov. Tim Walz said in a news conference on Monday afternoon. "What this gives us is an opportunity as Minnesotans to make sure we're investing in Minnesotans right now."
Walz called for both immediate and long-term action by state leaders. The governor renewed his call to send checks to every Minnesotan, noting those amounts could potentially triple under this expanded surplus to as much as $500 per individual and $1,000 per couple. He also said the surplus also allows Minnesota to reduce costs in the long term.
"There's a lot of space in here for compromise," Walz said. "The good news is, we can compromise on a whole lot of fronts to make life cheaper for Minnesotans, both now and in the future. We can continue to invest in things like education and health care, reducing those costs and making them more accessible to folks, that improve quality of life."
Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt responded to reports of the increased surplus with calls for tax relief for Minnesotans.
"$9.3 billion surplus means government is collecting mind-boggling amounts of money from Minnesotans struggling with inflation and gas/energy prices," Daudt tweeted. "We need permanent and meaningful tax relief ASAP including an end to social security taxes & refilling UI trust fund."
DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman says the surplus gives the state a chance to "deliver help" for Minnesotans.
"Now it's our job to address the challenges that people are facing and ensure that workers and families are benefiting from the economic growth they are helping create," Hortman said in a statement.
Other groups, including one of the state's largest labor unions, said the surplus needs to be allocated in support of teachers, children, retirees, and frontline workers.