ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Outgoing Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says the state’s projected $1.5 billion budget surplus contrasts with the “shambles” he faced when he took office nearly eight years ago.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, the retiring Democrat recalled that he faced a $6.2 billion budget deficit and that the state had virtually no financial reserves. But he says the state will now have $2 billion in reserves to guard against future downturns.
Dayton says the main reason for the turnaround is that Minnesota employers have added over 318,000 jobs in the past eight years, and unemployment dropped from 6.9 percent back then to 2.8 percent today.
But Dayton says there are still too many people across Minnesota who aren’t sharing in that prosperity, including disproportionate numbers of farmers, minorities and recent immigrants.