The governor, legislators and Minnesota citizens all received good news in December. Minnesota Management and Budget, formerly known as the State Finance Department, in its most recent economic forecast projected an improvement in the state’s economic position of more than a billion dollars for the current two-year budget cycle.
Financing the education of Minnesota’s kindergarten through grade 12 students takes nearly half of the state’s annual budget and by constitutional provision the funds must support a “uniform system” of public schools so that each student receives an “adequate” education.
Exuding a candidate’s optimism, President Barack Obama predicted last year that partisan fever in the Republican Party would break if he were re-elected. Now, only weeks removed from a government shutdown followed by perilous congressional flirtation with debt default, it’s reasonable to wonder whether fevered brinkmanship is the only way to write a budget in Washington.