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Senate Media Services

State Budget Surplus Grows, Lawmakers Respond

Minnesota's projected budget surplus grew to $17.6 billion since lawmakers adjourned the 2022 legislative session, and state revenues are expected to exceed state spending through Fiscal Year 2027. Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter presented the upbeat budget news at a media event Tuesday, January 6. He expressed caution; however, stating that "economic headwinds are coming our way." He further explained that the forecast does not calculate the impact of inflation on state spending.

Referencing the latest news, Governor Tim Walz said, "While it's a positive budget report today, it doesn't tell the whole story." He said it fails to tell the story of a parent struggling to find child care or families struggling with high gas and food prices. It also fails to tell the story of the need to provide resources to schools in support of struggling students. "The macro picture is solid. The golden opportunity that we have to make Minnesota an even better and fairer and more inclusive and more prosperous state is there."

Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic said, "We will use this tremendous opportunity to help Minnesotans afford their lives." She said legislators will pass "a bold, balanced budget that will keep our economy strong, help families and workers, and keep Minnesota as a national leader in so many areas."

In a released statement, Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson said, "This surplus continues to show that the government is doing well - we have another hefty surplus and a brimming budget reserve. This is the moment policymakers must step up to put the needs of Minnesotans first. We are being battered with high property taxes, rapid inflation, rising energy costs, and a looming recession. We need real relief that all Minnesotans can count on for years to come.”

Growing Minnesota's Economy, Reflecting on Public Service

The Governor's Council on Economic Expansion recently presented a series of recommendations to grow Minnesota's economy. Called "Minnesota's Moment: A Roadmap for Equitable Economic Expansion," the plan outlines several recommendations in various policy areas, including enhancing childcare support, expanding the state's infrastructure--including broadband--improving educational and training opportunities, and reducing barriers to job creation. Commissioner Steve Grove of the Department of Employment and Economic Development joins moderator Shannon Loehrke to review the report and discuss the forthcoming efforts to enact policies supporting the state's economic growth.

People who follow the legislature likely know Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman as the man who effortlessly, and by memory, rattles off the names of all 67 Senators at the beginning of every Senate floor session. In fact, Secretary Ludeman has devoted his career to public service, as a lawmaker, as a commissioner and as the Secretary of the Senate. He joins Shannon to reflect on his career of service to the state.

Also in the program, a key Senate committee hears testimony on the ongoing workforce shortage impacting the long-term care industry. Plus, an historic statue is unveiled at the State Capitol.

New Leadership in the Minnesota Senate

The results of the 2022 midterm election have changed the power dynamics of the Minnesota Senate. Senator Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, was selected by her Senate DFL colleagues as the next Majority Leader. In the role, she will navigate the caucus' priorities in setting the agenda for the entire Senate. Senator Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, will head the Senate Republican Caucus as the next Minority Leader. The new leaders join moderator Shannon Loehrke to talk about their new responsibilities.

Twenty-four freshman Senators-elect spent two days at the State Capitol for new member orientation sessions, which included learning about Senate customs and procedures. Shannon spoke with some of the newly-elected members about their initial impressions.

Reviewing the Election / Secular Government Caucus / Reflecting on an Expansive Senate Career

Governor Tim Walz, along with DFL legislators, will be in a strong position to secure their legislative agenda as a result of this year’s midterm election. Beginning in 2023, DFLers will hold a 34 to 33 majority in the Minnesota Senate and a 70 to 64 majority in the Minnesota House. On this week's program, DFL lawmakers talk with the media about the new DFL trifecta.

In early October, before the 2022 election, twenty-four DFL members of the House and the Senate founded the Secular Government Caucus, which they have described as “a coalition of nonbelievers and religious people to uphold our constitutional separation of church and state.” Senator John Marty, a co-chair of the new caucus, joins moderator Shannon Loehrke to explain the purpose of the new group.

He was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and during his 20-year tenure, he held several leadership posts, chaired high-profile committees, and championed several big initiatives. Senator David Senjem, R-Rochester, joins Shannon to reflect on his expansive Senate career.

Senate DFL Announces New Leadership

Following a day-long private caucus meeting Thursday, November 10, newly elected Senate DFL leaders met with the media. Senator Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, announced that she was elected as Senate Majority Leader. Senator Bobby Jo Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, will serve as the Senate President; Senator Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, will chair the Senate Tax Committee, and Senator John Marty, DFL-Roseville will serve as Finance Chair.

During the coming weeks, the Senate DFL caucus will organize the committee structure, select a Secretary of the Senate, and prepare an agenda for the 2023 session, which begins Tuesday, January 3.