With the recent news that Minnesota is projected to have a surplus of $1.4 Billion, many have offered potential options for what we could with the extra cash. Everything from putting more into education all the way to expanding our public defender corps has been mentioned in the discussion of what to do. While they are all good ideas, we also need to think big about the future of Minnesota’s economy.
It is no secret that we are facing significant challenges as a nation. Our healthcare system is failing to support people in need, our public infrastructure has become the target of cybercriminals, and our climate is changing faster than ever. This surplus is an opportunity to dream big, to be a leader in the country and to set an example of how states can take the fight for change into their own hands.
We also need to shore up our position on some critical items the state is dealing with. We need to support the school districts that are over-levied, and we need to put real resources behind the fight against human trafficking in our state. That said, if we look forward to the tax gains we will see from the likely legalization of marijuana, this surplus might turn into a windfall that could cover those needed expenses and fuel investment into real job creating programs.
Now is not the time to rest on our laurels. Now is the time to push harder than ever for systemic changes to improve the lives of Minnesotans of all stripes. We can set an example for a Green New Deal, we can set the standard for public healthcare, and we can bring our government systems up to date. With the potential for a national recession looming, now is the time to invest in the long-term future of our state.