May 18, 2011
New revenue estimates from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau are indisputably good news. The number crunchers expect state tax collections through the end of the 2012 fiscal year will be more than $600 million ahead of prior projections.
To keep things in perspective, that is only 1.6 percent of the total anticipated revenue collections. But it means a smaller hole to climb out of as state finances are put in order.
Joint Finance Committee co-chairs Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Robin Vos (R-Rochester) summed up the attitude of any prudent adult dealing with an overextended household budget.
“The Doyle administration left us with large bills like the patient compensation fund and the Minnesota tax reciprocity and we intend to pay those off,” they said in a joint statement. “As we develop the state’s spending plan, we will continue to have taxpayer interests in mind and make sound fiscal decisions.”
Remember, the Patients’ Compensation Fund has to be reimbursed for more than $200 million, and the debt to Minnesota is several tens of millions and gathering interest every day.
And speaking of prudent adults, we wonder if there are any on the Democratic side of the aisle. Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) obtusely concluded that the state is now flush with money.
“Contrary to the Governor and Republicans rhetoric it appears we are not broke after all,” Miller said. “There are no more excuses for their budget proposals targeting education, health care services for women, children and seniors, critical community services like police and fire protection and tax savings for working families for unfair budget cuts.”
Not broke except for the remaining $3 billion hole.