When lawmakers go back to Saint Paul in about a month, they will have a nice financial cushion to build a budget on. The Minnesota Management and Budget Office is predicting a $1 billion budget surplus.
Local lawmakers have different opinions on what to do with it. Incoming Representative-elect Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove, says it's a sign taxes are too high.
"The luxury that St. Paul has with the budget right now is not the same luxury as all families in Minnesota have right now," Smith said. "When the revenues go up, it means that revenue comes from the citizens of Minnesota. So I think there needs to be some reform in taxes."
For Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL-Golden Valley, it may be a chance to add to efforts begun in the last legislative session.
"For the funding that's available there, I'd certainly like to see more investment in early childhood education, investment in transportation, further college relief," Freiberg said. "Those are the things I spoke about during the campaign."
Another Golden Valley DFLer says it's an opportunity that shouldn't be missed.
"We should prioritize quality, affordable childcare, a college tuition freeze, and significant infrastructure developments that will create good paying jobs," said Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley.
The surplus is the result of higher sales and income tax revenues.
Lawmakers we spoke with also say the surplus should help get the session off to a smooth start, much different than the disagreements that closed down state government in 2011.
Learn about our mobile app - http://bit.ly/CH12app
Channel 12 is on Comcast cable in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis and includes the cities Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, New Hope, Osseo, Plymouth and Robbinsdale.