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Is another budget surplus on the way? MN tax receipts $136M ahead of forecast

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Minnesota could be on its way to another budget surplus as a quarterly update shows the state has taken in $136 million more taxes than projected.

In its latest Revenue and Economic Update, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) said it is 3.2 percent ahead of its projections between July and September.

Much of this was down to big receipts generated in July and August, with tax income then falling during September.

The state received $52 million more in individual taxes than it expected during that period and $32 million more in sales tax, while the biggest rise came in corporate franchise tax which generated $42 million more – 10.6 percent higher than forecast.

Total revenue for the state in those three months was $4.428 billion.

A closer look at the figures show that some areas in which Minnesota generated higher tax than forecast includes cigarette/tobacco tax ($5.89 million more than expected), estate and gift tax ($7.543 million more) and liquor tax ($1.03 million more).

Good sign, but no guarantee of surplus

As MPR points out, these figures do not guarantee there will be a repeat of this year's budget surplus – as the full condition of Minnesota's finances won't be known until figures showing spending on health, education and other services are made available next month.

The November budget forecast will then be used by Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature to decide whether they will make any changes to the two-year budget passed by lawmakers in June.

According to the Associated Press, budget officials have cautioned there can be "wide swings" between now and the end of the fiscal year.

However it bodes well that last October, tax receipts in Minnesota were actually $46 million below forecast for that same three month period in 2014, according to MMB.

Minnesota went on to generate a $1.9 billion budget surplus last fiscal year despite that first-quarter deficit.

The spending of this surplus proved a major bone of contention between lawmakers and led to a special session of the Legislature, which eventually passed a budget in mid-June.

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