Mark Dayton doesn't take credit for Minnesota's $1.2 billion surplus... sort of
This morning, the Minnesota Management and Budget office announced the state is projected to have a budget surplus of $1.23 billion in the current biennium and $2.6 billion in the next.
Hours later, Gov. Mark Dayton released a statement sharing his thoughts about the good news. And believe it or not, despite the dramatic turn in the state's economic fortunes since he first took office in early 2011 -- for instance, in February of that year, the budget forecast projected a $5 billion deficit for the fiscal year 2012-13 biennium -- Dayton doesn't take all the credit on behalf of himself and the DFL-controlled legislature.
"Contrary to some people's mythology, the budget surpluses forecast for this biennium and the next DID NOT result from last year's tax bill," Dayton says. "Those surpluses DID result from thousands more Minnesotans working and earning higher incomes."
Dayton goes on to try to take politics out of the analysis of the positive forecast.
"There will be time next fall to argue over who deserves what credit for these exceptional improvements. I believe the credit belongs principally to the people of Minnesota," he says, citing businesspeople, employees, teachers, health care providers, law enforcement personnel, and government employees.
But ultimately Dayton can't help but take a few backhanded shots at his Republican opponents:
Our actions here in St. Paul have also aided our state's economic recovery and improved many people's lives during the past three years. We raised state income taxes on only our very wealthiest citizens, the top two percent. We used part of that revenue to stop the large annual increases in property taxes for all Minnesotans. We invested most of the rest in better education. Early childhood education, all-day kindergarten, per-pupil aid increases, and tuition freezes at MnSCU and U of M campuses will all contribute to a better Minnesota for decades to come.
We also invested in more jobs and better jobs. Three state bonding bills, while less than I had recommended, took advantage of low interest rates to fund hundreds of construction projects, which are improving higher education campuses, state parks, highways, and flood control projects, while providing thousands of jobs for unemployed workers. Additionally, we made smart economic development investments that have encouraged major business expansions by 3M, Mayo Clinic, AGCO, Shutterfly, Magnetation, Price Mechanical, Viracon, Olympus and many others, which are creating many thousands of new jobs. They are some of the reasons why the Gallup Job Creation Index ranked Minnesota fifth best among the fifty states for job creation in 2013.
Dayton concludes, however, by throwing a bone to the MNGOP. With regard to the question of how the $1.2 billion surplus can be best allocated, he writes, "The individual and business tax cuts in the House tax bill are a very good start."
But as the following tweets suggest, it doesn't appear the MNGOP will be satisfied unless the entire surplus is returned to taxpayers:
-- MN Senate GOP (@mnsrc) February 28, 2014
-- Timothy Blotz (@TimBlotzFOX9) February 28, 2014
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