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Your Letters: Sound policies led to state surplus

It has only been a few months since we put the new state budget in place, but the improvements we made already are paying off with a nearly $900 million state surplus now projected by Minnesota Management & Budget.

This is refreshing news after four years of budget shortfalls under the former Legislature. The new majority made fiscal responsibility a top priority when we took over in January. The quick turnaround on our bottom line is even exceeding the most optimistic initial projections for fiscal years 2012-13; most folks expected a budget shortfall of $500 million to $1 billion instead of a surplus.

There were some incredibly difficult decisions for us to make in erasing a $5 billion shortfall this year, but this new budget forecast shows we did the right thing Our projected surplus reaffirms the fact Minnesota had a spending problem under the former majority, not a revenue shortage as some have suggested. Our surplus is not due to any tax increases because we didn't pass any. Instead, our surplus is the result of a common-sense, kitchen table approach to setting a budget. We upheld our priorities, contained costs and found ways of doing things more efficiently to save tax dollars.

All this adds up to a state the report says is outpacing the nation in lifting our economy from the recession.

State statutes are in place which dictate how surplus dollars must be used if certain conditions exist. Our reserves ran dry during recent shortfalls, so this surplus revenue will mainly be used to replenish those accounts. Let's hope the next budget forecast in February will show more surplus funds so we can look at accelerated payments toward shifted K-12 funds.

We are busy preparing a second round of bills called Reform 2.0 to help bring more cost savings to the state in the 2012 session. This news of a surplus should give us even more incentive to stay the course and continue structural changes in our state. I am very eager to get the new session going in January so we can work on making even better use of our hard-earned tax dollars.

Please keep sending me your input if you have ideas for things we can do better. A complete report of the new budget forecast from MMB can be found at

Rep. Mark Murdock