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Letter: State's economy continues to improve

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I'm pleased with a recent report from state budget experts showing Minnesota's economy making positive improvements in three budget cycles.

Incoming revenues are up and state government spending is lower than expected. The economy is working, and we'll be making a big mistake if we choose to ignore this progress.

The current budget cycle that ends this summer shows a $295 million surplus, according to state economists. By state law, this money cannot be spent -- $290 million of that will buy back the K-12 school shifts, and $5 million be allocated to budget reserves.

As for the 2014-15 budget cycle, the projected deficit has been cut by nearly 40 percent since the previous report in November -- dropping from $1.1 billion to $627 million. This shortfall must be eliminated before session adjourns in May.

The out-year budget is what really shows the most progress. According to the budget experts, Minnesota is projected to have a $782 million budget surplus for fiscal years 2016-17 if the economy continues down its current economic path.

We must strongly evaluate the governor's tax proposal with this recent news. With the deficit shrinking rapidly, there's really not a reason to dramatically increase taxes and spending in the ways Governor Dayton proposed several weeks ago. The governor is expected to outline an updated budget plan in the next week, and I'm hopeful this latest forecast will cause him to think twice about increasing taxes on all Minnesotans.

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