You just knew the DFL had this one planned either way.
If the budget forecast had come in in the red, there would have been caterwauling about how the state needed to raise taxes to make the state’s economy stronger. The incongruity would have escaped the media.
Of course, it came in in the black; about a third of a billion.
And the regional DFL-prop media was quick to pee in the Legislature’s Wheaties; “It’s All Spoken For!”, they were quick to append to the news.
Dayton’s Management and Budget commissioner was quick with the Administraiton’s spin:
Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter said the $323 million surplus is already spent. By law, $5 million will go to refill the state’s budget reserve. The rest will start paying back the schools. At this rate, Schowalter said it could be quite some time before the state breaks even.
“It’s going to be a while before we have a positive forecast balance even if we have good news rolling forward for years to come,” he said.
That’s going to be the DFL’s line about the surplus: “it’s not really a surplus! We owe!”
And when it comes up around he water cooler, every Republican, every conservative, every Real Minnesotan should have two responses:
- “Duh. No kidding? The DFL spent us into a deep, deep hole between 2006 and 2010, larding up the budget with entitlements that were bound to leave us with a deep hole once the economy went south – and it eventually always goes south, at least for a while. And when it did, the DFL just asked for more – like, six billion over previous budgets! Have you learned your lesson yet?”
- “Remember how all the DFL’s talking heads were saying “it’s going to take a lot of work to get out of this deficit?” Well, welcome to “lot of work”. Just like when your family falls behind on bills and spends some time playing catch-up; your tax refund and bonus from work go into paying old bills, rather than fun stuff. Suck it up, little camper. This is the “hard work”. Put up or shut up”.
And one thing that is as predictable as the Alliance for a Better Minnesota lying about something; the Dems will call for whatever “surplus” there is to be added to permanent entitlement spending. And “paid back” to the schools.
Because in the world of the Democrat, or “Republicans” like Arne Carlson, “surplus” is just another word for “money to spend spend spend!”
And if there’s one thing Minnesotans showed us in 2010, it’s that they’re tired of that piece of business as usual.