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Letter to the Editor: Forecasts call for dropping temps, rising state surplus

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The latest economic forecast from Minnesota Management and Budget shows our state is still on the path of growth.

The new forecast calls for $1.086 billion in surplus revenue for 2014-15 and a $2.2 billion surplus in 2016-17. This is not exactly a surprise because we have been riding a wave of continued growth since 2011, when the Republican-led budget eliminated a $5 billion shortfall and generated nearly $3.5 billion more than projected over the last two fiscal years – without raising taxes.

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State law dictates how some of this revenue will be applied when certain conditions exist. The first $246 million will be used to fully repay delayed funding to K-12 education. Another $15 million will go to the state airports fund, restoring money originally borrowed in 2008.

Minnesota’s full economic forecasts are issued twice a year. The next one will be in February, and that report will give us a better idea of where we stand as the Legislature returns to the Capitol for the 2014 session. A huge topic of discussion could surround what to do with the surplus revenue. Maybe the best plan would be to eliminate unnecessary tax increases passed this year. For example, a new tax on the labor for equipment repair is proving to be very burdensome for farmers and should be repealed.

This subject is sure to make headlines in the coming months, and I will provide more information as it becomes available. For now, stay warm and enjoy the winter weather now that it has arrived in earnest. We don’t necessarily look forward to frigid months, but winter activities are a snow-covered lining by benefiting our local economy.

Also, I encourage are citizens to support our hometown merchants as we shop for the holidays. It is advantageous for us to keep money flowing in our local economy.

Rep. Bud Nornes, Fergus Falls, MN

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