Now’s the time for outcome-based state budgeting

Policy-makers have enjoyed a legislative session free of debate on how to resolve a state budget shortfall. Minnesota’s economy continues to improve, as underscored in the February forecast of Minnesota Management and Budget. The report showed a $323 million surplus for the biennium which ends June 30, 2013. That cushion is in addition to the $876 million surplus forecast in November.

Existing law directs that any surplus be used to replenish the state’s cash flow account and budget reserve, and then to pay back the K–12 education funding shift. The surplus means the two accounts will be refilled, and $318 million can be applied to the school funding payback. Though good news in the short term, financial clouds are on the horizon. A $1.1 billion shortfall is still projected for fiscal years 2014–2015.

The Minnesota Chamber encourages policy-makers to focus on smarter budgeting to deliver better results. We are supporting legislation that starts the process of enacting outcomes-based budgeting. To view the specifics of the bill, visit our Action Center at

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, as the state’s largest business advocacy organization, works year-round to strengthen the environment for Minnesota employers and employees alike. We are the first call for help on statewide business policy issues, specific business problems and expansion assistance.

Also, please consider our staff as a resource. We can help you make the link between the action taken at the Capitol and the impacts on your communities. We can assist in identifying trends among Minnesota employers. We can be a source of information whether you’re preparing a story or offering commentary.

We look forward to connecting with you on a regular basis. Thanks, and don’t hesitate to contact me with questions at any time. — Jim Pumarlo (Editor’s note: Pumarlo is the director of communications for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.)