Gov. Tim Walz and state GOP leaders are warning of looming state budget cuts as Minnesota faces a projected $4.7 billion budget deficit for 2022 and 2023.
Senate Republican leaders, aiming to hang on to their party’s majority, have zeroed in on the deficit. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said Friday that the election will determine the makeup of the Legislature that must decide how to respond to the budget situation.
State government is already cutting jobs, and more trims could be coming, the DFL governor told WCCO Radio on Friday. Last month Department of Corrections officials cut 48 positions, and this month it announced layoffs for another 100 employees and two prison closures.
“It started with the Department of Corrections. We’ll have Department of Human Services — these are big expenditures so it’s easier … to shave some things off,” Walz said. “But you get to the point where you’re not cutting fat, you’re cutting bone and it’s going to be tough.”
The state has a couple of years to balance the budget and will consider all options, including tax increases, Walz said. But he likened getting additional tax dollars out of struggling businesses to squeezing “blood out of a turnip.” Walz and state budget officials have repeatedly emphasized that Minnesota has full reserves to help handle the budget crunch.