We told you so: one year after forecast of $18 billion budget surplus, state forecasts deficit of $2.3 billion

Last summer, we went all over the state with our Off the Cliff tour. In it, we reviewed what had happened in the last legislative session in St. Paul. Among other things, we noted that about 70% of the state budget — K12 education and Health and Human Services spending — was on autopilot and that this signaled budgetary problems down the road.

Quicker than you think, we’re down the road. Today, Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB) released its November Budget and Economic Forecast. For the 2024-25 budget biennium, the state government is forecast to run a surplus of $2.4 billion, up from the $1.6 billion forecast at the end of the session. So far, so good.

But, looking ahead to the 2026-2027 budget biennium, MMB forecasts a deficit of $2.3 billion, mainly, as the Star Tribune reports, “due to higher-than-anticipated spending for health and human services and education.” If only somebody had seen this coming.  

It is quite something, isn’t it? A year ago, MMB forecast a budget surplus of $17.6 billion for the 2024-2025 budget biennium. Now, here we are looking at a deficit of $2.3 billion in the biennium after that.