Budget Update, Additional Surplus for Current Biennium

March 5, 2024

The headline from last week would be the release of the updated economic forecast. The news was cautiously optimistic in that the forecast was slightly better than expected in December. There is an additional $1.3 billion in revenue, leaving a surplus of $3.7 billion in June of 2025 if there is no supplemental spending during this session. The DFL, in control of both chambers of the legislature and the Governor’s office, has cautioned that this update does not change their conservative approach to spending during the 2024 session, although it may allow for a little bit of cash to be mixed in with general obligation bonds in an eventual bonding bill.

Last week was slower, with a pause midweek for party caucuses and funeral services for the Burnsville first responders who were killed. A notable event during the short week was the first bill signed into law this session - a bipartisan tax bill that would fix several technical issues from last session. The bill is timely since we are in the midst of tax season.

Last week the Senate and House Jobs and Economic Development Committees had light weeks because of the previously mentioned funeral services. There were not hearings on Tuesday or Wednesday morning, which impacted both Jobs and Economic Development Committee schedules. Commissioner Varilek was back in front of the Senate committee to continue discussing changes passed during the 2023 session.

This week, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee held Commissioner Varilek’s confirmation hearing. The committee voted unanimously to approve him as Commissioner and the confirmation vote will be sent to the Senate Floor for a vote. There was even a joke about it being a very long time since there was unanimous approval of a commissioner nomination, making light of the partisan bickering that led to the dismissal of several of Walz’s appointees during split government. The committee also heard about the Explore Minnesota program.

Shifting gears, it is not too late to sign up for EDAM Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 20. We will schedule legislator meetings for you with your elected officials and legislators on the Economic Development Committees. Amplifying the issues EDAM members see in the field and developing relationships with your legislators is a critical part of our strategy each year. If you have any questions about this event, don’t hesitate to reach out to Colleen Ayers at [email protected] or Shannon Mitchell at [email protected].