Last Wednesday, we received fantastic news about our state's financial affairs.

According to the official forecast from Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB), we have an additional $323 million surplus to add to the $876 million announced last November. That's a total of nearly $1.2 billion more than we expected when we passed our biennial budget last summer.

Just one year ago, our state was facing a projected budget deficit of $5.2 billion.

By law, all this money is committed to fill the cash-flow account, budget reserve account and to pay back a portion of the school shift.

Nevertheless, Minnesota is in much better financial shape today than we were one year ago, and our economy is moving in the right direction.

According to MMB, most of the surplus is the result of reduced spending, thanks in part to the fiscal discipline we applied last session.

I intend to continue to work to make government smarter about how it spends your tax dollars. We need to continue to find ways to be more efficient and promote policies that encourage job creation and economic growth.

We had lots of visitors from the Senate District last week: chiropractors, nurses, staff from HCO, local bankers, librarians, the Farm Bureau (Farmers Union visited last week), and advocates for parks and trails and nursing homes.

It is a pleasure to see all these people from the district I represent and be reminded of the energy, dedication and generosity of everyone who makes southeastern Minnesota such an excellent place to live, work and raise a family!

Please feel free to get in touch whenever you have comments or questions about the work we do here at the Capitol.

Send an email to or call (651) 296-5649 or write to 320 State Capitol, St. Paul, MN 55113.