The 2014 Legislature gaveled in on the relatively late date of Feb. 25. But lawmakers surprised even themselves by accomplishing a substantial amount of this year’s business on the early side of things. By the time legislators returned to their districts for the Easter/Passover recess, they had cut taxes and increased the budget reserves by more than $600 million and settled their differences on raising the state’s hourly minimum wage.
In a state known for its bounty of water, Minnesota policymakers have traditionally wrangled more over the quality rather than the quantity of its lakes, streams and aquifers. But that has changed substantially in recent years, according to Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul).
On the menu at the Minnesota Legislature right now is a three-course fiscal feast. The $1.23 billion General Fund surplus forecast earlier this year for the current biennium provided the fixings for a tax bill, supplemental spending bill and bonding bill.