St. Paul – State Senator Joe Gimse (R – Willmar), Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, applauded the news from a just released economic update that showed the State of Minnesota now has $336 million more in its checkbook than was forecast in February.

“These additional revenues are proof that the budgetary decisions made by me and my colleagues at the legislature in 2011 and 2012 have had a positive effect on Minnesota’s economy,” Gimse stated. “Our ability to hold the line on the push for tax increases erased a then $6 billion budget deficit that turned into a $1.2 billion surplus back in February. With this additional $336 million, we now have a budget surplus of over $1.5 billion.”

The $336 million in additional revenues is over a 2.1 percent increase in what was forecasted in February by Minnesota’s Management & Budget office, the agency that produces the economic update. Factors leading to the excess revenues include an increase in the collection of individual income taxes, sales taxes and corporate income taxes.

“The fact that we witnessed an increase in additional tax revenues shows me that Minnesotans are continuing to spend more of their hard-earned money due to a friendlier statewide tax climate,” Gimse commented. “While the U.S. economy is still mired in a prolonged recession, Minnesota is in a great position to continue this economic growth due to sound fiscal decisions made by the policymakers at the legislature. I could not be more proud of the work we have done up to this point to turn things around.”

Minnesota’s economy also saw a boost in automobile and housing sales, as well as a slight decrease in fuel prices. Additional highlights of the economic forecast included strong growth in the manufacturing, health care and retail industries.

“Our businesses have started to lift their hiring freezes and slowly build back up Minnesota’s workforce,” Gimse said. “This could not have been accomplished without the work that was done by the legislature over these past two years. We were able to fend off tax increases and defeat the status quo deficit spending that had dominated the legislature for years. As we move forward, I will continue to advocate strong fiscal stewardship for the State of Minnesota.”