Bill requiring state forecasts to include inflation passes Senate, heads to Walz

A bill that will require the state’s economists to include inflation in future spending projections is on its way to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk.

Monday, the Minnesota Senate approved the bill by a vote of 35-30. The House passed it last month.

DFL lawmakers introduced the bill after the state’s latest economic forecast in December showed a $17.6 billion surplus. Minnesota Management and Budget said that projection would be around $1.55 billion less if it accounted for inflation in the 2024-25 budget years.

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DFL lawmakers said the requirement was removed around 20 years ago in an attempt to make deficits look smaller but said it now makes surpluses look bigger. Republicans opposed the measure and called it an attempt to minimize the state’s massive surplus.

“Members, it’s my opinion that the primary impact of this legislation is not to increase transparency, is not to increase accuracy. The primary impact would be to dampen our ability to give tax relief to hardworking Minnesotans by overestimating the amount we’re going to spend,” Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake) said on the Senate floor.