Let’s stay on right path

To the Editor:

With state economic experts having unveiled their fourth consecutive positive budget update, there’s little doubt Minnesota is on the right path for fiscal recovery.

Two years ago, legislative Republicans made the tough choices to prioritize spending and not raise taxes in order to solve a budget shortfall. As a result of these decisions, Minnesota will soon return to an era of budget surpluses unless the Democrats change course.

For the current budget cycle, Minnesota is projected to collect $295 million more than anticipated. Current law directs $290 million to buy back the K-12 school shifts, leaving a balance of $801 million owed to our schools.

Now is the time to make another substantial down payment on school shift. Let them have the money they have coming to invest for their future.

The projected deficit for the 2014-15 budget cycle also has made a dramatic turnaround. Once projected at $4.4 billion, the shortfall now stands at $627 million. This figure must be eliminated before the 2013 session adjourns.

Finally, state budget experts say Minnesota will return to full economic health if our state continues down this economic path. The 2016-17 biennium will see a $782 million budget surplus if state spending and tax rates remain in check.

None of this is likely to happen as Gov. Dayton and the new Democrat-led Legislature have expressed a strong desire to raise taxes and spending this session.

Now that we have this economic update, lawmakers will work through all the tax and spending increase proposals in our House committees, and I will be sure to keep you posted on their progress.

State Rep. Bob Gunther,