Governor’s revised budget to be released today: what to look for

The Governor’s revised budget proposal will be released at 2:30 today (the presentation will be in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol). In this revised budget, he will bring his budget back into balance based on the larger deficit figure in the February Forecast.

Here are some of the questions we’ll be asking about the Governor’s supplemental budget.

  1. Federal stimulus. How does the Governor incorporate the federal stimulus dollars? How much does he use federal dollars to solve the deficit and how much does he use federal dollars to backfill state budget cuts? What proposals did the Governor have to drop to meet federal maintenance of effort requirements? Does the Governor pass up on any federal stimulus dollars?
  2. One-time solutions. How much of the Governor’s revised proposal is one-time? His initial proposal included $1.3 billion in shifting education funding, $980 million in bonding and $920 million in federal stimulus funds. That meant about two-thirds of his deficit solution was one-time. Now that the size of the federal stimulus may top $2 billion, there is a serious danger of allowing one-time solutions to dominate the solution. We have a long-term deficit, we need a long-term solution. This is particularly important given the next issue…
  3. Balancing the budget in FY 2012-13. Does the Governor balance the budget not only in the next biennium (FY 2010-11), but also in the following biennium (FY 2012-13)? Actually, that’s a trick question. As the result of a brand new law, he is required to propose a budget that is balanced all the way through 2013. The real question is, does his budget make a sincere attempt to balance the budget in FY 2012-13, or does it include more of a placeholder to satisfy the requirements of the law?
  4. Spending cuts and revenue increases. How much of the budget solution is permanent spending cuts? Where do those cuts come from? And who bears the burden of the spending cuts? We are in a real pickle. In order to solve the state’s structural budget problems, we need long-term solutions. Our only long-term options are spending cuts and revenue increases. If the Governor has taken revenue increases off the table, then he is left with balancing the budget through drastic spending cuts.

We’ll be looking for the answers to these questions over the coming days and we’ll let you know what we discover.

-Christina Wessel

About Christina Wessel

Christina served as the Minnesota Budget Project's deputy director until January 2014.
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