State lawmakers now have a new item on their to-do list this session: determining how to allocate a projected $1.6 billion surplus.

The positive economic news was revealed by state economists on February 26, and State Representative Bjorn Olson (R-Elmore) noted the total was significantly higher than what was previously estimated.

“Considering the previous forecast showed a billion-dollar budget deficit, I’m pleased the economy is headed in the right direction,” Olson said.

Olson said the overwhelming change is due in part to fiscal actions taken by the federal government that were not taken into account during the November forecast, better than expected revenue collections, and lowered state spending.

Olson said the surplus also showed that tax increase plans being proposed by House Democrats and Governor Walz are unnecessary.

“We need to let our economy grow rather than putting stifling tax hikes on Minnesotans who are still struggling to recover from the pandemic,” Olson said.

Senate Finance Chair Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) released the following statement:

“The budget surplus is good news and an amazing testament to the resilience of Minnesotans. But it does not change the fact that our state budget is unsustainable and has been for a long time. As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I’ve got two priorities for the budget: first, we will be looking into government spending, government accountability, and seeing where this money is going. Second, Minnesota workers and small business owners are still struggling. Let’s get them some targeted tax relief.”