Minnesota budget officials will give legislators a comprehensive snapshot of the state's economy early next month, which will guide how lawmakers make spending decisions for the next two years.
The economic forecast will be presented on Dec. 5 at the State Capitol. State Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans will be joined by state budget director Margaret Kelly and state economist Laura Kalambokidis.
The state budget and economic forecast, released twice yearly, outlines economic and tax collection trends that sets Minnesota's projected budget surplus or deficit. That number is kept secret until the figure is published.
Last year, the December forecast showed that the state took in slightly less tax money than expected in the last budget period, but the state made up for it with lower spending, particularly on health care. The forecast in December 2016 projected a $1.4 billion budget surplus. It also noted the country is in an economic expansion well into its eighth year.
Gov. Mark Dayton pointed out during the December 2016 forecast that the state had faced multibillion-dollar budget deficits before he took office and had praised the stable economic outlook.
In March, legislators were given another forecast update. This time, they were told the state's healthy economy powered projections of a $1.65 billion budget surplus — $250 million more than what was projected in December 2016.
However, officials warned in March that uncertainty about federal policy under the Trump administration could pose a "significant risk" that the surplus could decline.
Dayton and Republican legislative leaders claimed credit for the forecast in March and had offered different visions for what the state should do with the money. In May, Dayton and lawmakers agreed on a two-year, $45.5 billion budget.