State in surplus
Here’s some proof that cutting spending and holding the line on taxes is the most fiscally responsible way to solve a deficit.
Minnesota treasury: Near $140 million uptick
A near $140 million uptick in state revenue collections last month is "a little bit of a cushion" for the Minnesota treasury but no cause to expect a return to the robust fiscal surpluses of the late 1990s, state finance officials said Monday.
The state general fund took in $1.209 billion in tax collections in August, $139.9 million more than had been projected, Finance Commissioner Peggy Ingison announced. But, she added, most of the extra money came from a large, unidentified estate tax payment that she described as "an anomaly and a one-time event."
State economist Tom Stinson said the tax payment may have amounted to as much as 16 percent of the estate, depending on when the person died. Since January 2002, the state estate tax has been phasing downward from that rate, he said.
Although Ingison said monthly revenue figures should be viewed with caution, she noted that the August windfall followed July collections that were $6.7 million more than predicted. For the first two months of the 2006 fiscal year that began July 1, all four major tax categories -- individual and corporate income taxes, sales taxes and motor vehicle excise taxes -- showed slightly positive results.
That indicates that after several deficit-wracked years following the 2000-01 recession, state government may be returning to fiscal steadiness, Ingison said.
"Aside from the estate piece, we're pretty much right on the mark," she said. "I wouldn't be celebrating anything, but it's a little bit of a cushion."
(Source: Star Tribune, September 13, 2005)
Remember the 2003 session? Newly elected Gov. Pawlenty rolled the Senate DFLers into adopting his no-new-taxes way to solve the deficit. Pawlenty’s swiftness caused the DFL to overthrow Sen. John Hottinger as Majority Leader and elect former Republican Sen. Dean Johnson to lead their caucus through the next two sessions. Sure, the next sessions sucked, but our party is stronger because of it.
Who would've thought that in Minnesota, the "Land of 10,000 Taxes," we'd see a budget deficit resolved without a tax hike?