House GOP responds to Governor Pawlenty’s budget forecast

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Minnesota House Republicans today called the budget forecast a positive sign that Minnesota is headed in the right direction.

“The $175 million budget balance is good news for Minnesota,” House Speaker Steve Sviggum said. “House Republicans managed the budget and made tough decisions while the DFL sat on the sidelines trying to figure out how to spend money we did not have. To go from large deficit to one that is under $500 million shows the good financial stewardship of House Republicans and Governor Pawlenty is paying dividends.”

The $175 million is allocated by current law. The forecast balance first must replace $25 million taken from the budget reserve for FY2005 spending enacted during the current legislative session.

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The remaining $150 million must be used to further reduce school aid payment shifts.

“While revenues are up, we cannot rest on the management that has been done. We are not out of the woods yet. We still have a spending problem,” Sviggum said. “We need to create more jobs and build a stronger economy while not spending beyond our means.”

The projected budget forecast for 2006-2007 is now $466 million, down $234 million from November’s estimate. Expenditure estimates for the next biennium are nearly identical to the forecast in November. Spending in 2006-2007 includes provisions currently in law and adjusted only for enrollment and caseload in K-12 education, higher education, human services and corrections.

“The supplemental budget provided by the governor’s office in the next week will give us a stronger understanding of the available resources that allow us to fund programs while staying within prudent spending parameters and not raising taxes,” House Majority Leader Paulsen said.

House Republicans said they would not discuss specific allocation of sustainable revenues until they have had the opportunity to listen to Minnesota and see Governor Pawlenty’s supplemental budget recommendations.

“The priorities the House Republican Caucus has set in the past &045; education funding, long term care and care for the disabled &045; will not change and should give a good idea as to our direction,” Sviggum said.