Minnesota Budget Forecast 02 Mar 14

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A new economic forecast showing a $1.2 billion surplus will give Minnesota lawmakers more leeway to pursue tax cuts and spending this session.

State finance officials released the updated outlook on Friday. The surplus is bigger than one projected a few months ago.

The forecast represents an estimate of future tax collections compared with spending commitments through June 2015. It’s the last forecast that provided before November’s election and will guide session decisions.

More details about the state economic conditions were to be discussed at a news conference later.

Gov. Mark Dayton and House leaders say they want fast action on a tax-cut plan of $500 million or more. Senate leaders are taking a go-slower approach and favor putting at least some of the surplus into a rainy-day account.