With surplus, Minn. lawmakers ponder reserves bump - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

With surplus, Minn. lawmakers ponder reserves bump

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A tantalizing Minnesota budget surplus has stirred talk of tax cuts and more spending on prized programs or infrastructure upgrades.

But there's also a call for some quarters to save a chunk of the money to cope with the next downturn.

Lawmakers learn Friday how big of a surplus they have to work with when the Department of Minnesota Management and Budget issues its latest economic forecast.

In December, finance officials projected an $825 million surplus. The welcome breathing room comes after a string of deficits triggered budget cuts, tax increases and drawdowns in rainy day accounts.

When fully stocked -- as they are now -- Minnesota's savings and checking account balances combine to reach $1 billion. The maximum reserve amount hasn't risen in more than a decade.

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