Buoyed by low gas prices and a strong U.S. dollar, Minnesota saw its budget surplus grow to $1.87 billion for the FY2016-17 biennium. Looking even further ahead, a structural surplus of just over $3 billion is estimated for FY2018-19.
Both Governor Dayton and DFL legislative leaders expressed their desire to target surplus dollars on long term investments. Specifically in education and transportation, Dayton would fully fund universal pre-K programs, freeze tuition at MnSCU, and direct some one-time funding towards the state’s transportation needs. The governor did say he still believes a dedicated long-term funding solution is needed for the state’s transportation infrastructure.
Republican leadership used the surplus news to call for tax cuts and a cease to any talk of raising gas taxes for long-term transportation funding.