Minnesota’s Budget and Economy Improve

Minnesota Management and Budget released the February Budget and Economic Forecast on Thursday, February 29, showing improvement since the November Forecast. The current 2024-25 biennium is now projected to end with a surplus of $3.715 billion, an increase of $1.324 billion compared to November projections. The near-term economic outlook has improved, with economic growth expected to persist through 2027.

Revenue Up and Spending Unchanged

According to the February Forecast, higher collections so far this fiscal year helped to raise the current biennium forecast for all major tax types. Corporate tax revenue shows the largest change, driven by higher-than-expected corporate profits through the forecast horizon. Meanwhile, spending estimates are largely unchanged from November. The higher revenue forecast throughout the FY 2024-27 planning horizon results in improvement to the structural budgetary balance, but spending is still projected to exceed revenue through FY 2027.

What the Heck is HEAPR?

Senator Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope) introduced legislation that would increase Higher Education Asset Preservation and Recovery (HEAPR) spending for the five University of Minnesota campuses. Senator Rest said her HEAPR bill targets resources to each of the five campuses to begin to address a substantial maintenance backlog across the system’s campuses, estimated to be $6 billion over the next ten years. The $500 million in her bill would go to asset preservation and recovery to preserve and maintain current buildings and facilities.

Can Minnesota Afford a Great Start?

As the legislative session was winding down last May, chatter around the Capitol was not only how many new programs were initiated, but also what didn’t make the cut. Near the top of the list for many was the issue of child care, including the increasing difficulty in finding providers and the exceedingly high cost of care. H.F. 3681, authored by Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL-Eden Prairie), is one of several bills introduced this session to start to address the issue. Her bill seeks to provide scholarships on a sliding scale to make child care more affordable for more families, with a goal to cap the cost of child care for a family at 7% of income. While her bill received an informational hearing, no formal action was taken, and its chances of success this year are likely slim, given the state’s budget status.

Continued Movement on the “Taylor Swift” Bill

The aptly-nicknamed “Taylor Swift” bill has continued to move through the legislative process, receiving hearings in both House and Senate committees after stalling out last session. The bill, which increases disclosure of fees on tickets, was initiated as a reaction to a legislator’s efforts to obtain tickets to the Taylor Swift Eras Tour. Hearings have been lyric-filled affairs, most appreciated by Swifties, but generally mocked by those who thought football was better before Taylor got a new boyfriend.

March 1, 2024