Several months ago, the Minnesota legislature got the great news the state had a billion and a half dollar surplus. Legislators were excited about all the ways they could save or spend those extra funds.

Then coronavirus hit Minnesota, with two huge impacts on Minnesota’s budget. The governor closed thousands of businesses considered “nonessential”, drastically reducing taxable income from businesses and individuals. At the same time, tens of thousands of people forced to stop working applied for unemployment insurance.

Two months after hearing about a billion and a half dollar surplus, it now looks like the state faces a two and a half billion dollar deficit for this and next year.

Senator Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls told KLGR the state is required to have a balanced budget, so cuts are pretty much the only option:

Dahms said that across the board cuts for all state agencies are the only way to avoid picking and choosing which agencies get cut, which would cause all sorts of ugly political fights:

Dahms also said that raising taxes on people whose income has been devastated by the governor’s executive orders wouldn’t go over very well at this point:

Dahms said the state currently has appoximately two and a half billion in reserves now, but if the legislators dig too deep into them, that will only hurt budgeting in the future.