Rhonda Silence

Renewed state budget forecast good news for Cook County

On Dec. 1, Gov. Tim Walz and the state economic agencies presented the most recent budget and economic forecast for Minnesota. The forecast, based on available economic data and tax receipts, looks better than anticipated at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Judy Erickson, the legislative relations specialist for the Cook County Chamber, due to better economic performance and more complete information, the Minnesota Management Board (MMB) forecasts a budget surplus for the remainder of the fiscal year.

There is currently debate at the Capitol about how those funds should be used, but there seems to be consensus that it should bring relief for small businesses and extended unemployment benefits.

Erickson said the governor will have to call a special legislative session to adopt a bill granting that business support. That will likely happen when it is time to seek an extension of the governor’s emergency powers during the pandemic, probably mid-December.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Erickson about the current surplus, the continued long-range shortfall projections and about the differences between the COVID-19 relief packages under consideration.