State Budget Officials Project $329M Surplus

February 28, 2018 03:26 PM

State officials are forecasting a $329 million budget surplus for the upcoming biennium, according to the Minnesota Office of Management and Budget.

Budget officials released the state's financial outlook Wednesday morning. The forecast is a reversal of the November estimate, which projected a slight budget deficit.

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Officials said the higher-than-expected forecast reflects increased nationwide economic growth "arising in part from short term stimulus from federal tax law changes."

RELATED: Surplus or Deficit? Minnesota Lawmakers Will Soon Learn

State lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton now must decide how to allocate those funds.

Dayton wasn't ready to start laying out specific plans for using the surplus. On Wednesday afternoon, the Democratic governor called the surplus modest and cautioned lawmakers against overspending.

Dayton says he may lean on the surplus to fund school safety improvements and to pay for fixes for the state's troubled new computer system for driver's licenses and plates. He'll release a detailed budget proposal on March 15.

One of the top priorities for the Legislature is conforming the state's tax code with the federal tax overhaul. Dayton says he wants to make sure that effort doesn't result in major tax increases or cuts.

Stay tuned to KSTP.com and 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS for updates. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Michael Oakes

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