The State of Our State's Finances
By: Mike Earl
Did you know that our beloved state of Minnesota is $51 billion in debt? I hear a lot about "surpluses" in the media, as though a one-year surplus is some indicator of financial health.
And our state's debt balance is increasing as we speak, not decreasing. The debt balance per state citizen is now at $9,316.
State politicians enjoy talking about "budget surpluses", but rarely (or ever?) do they mention our state's dismal balance sheet (aka net worth). For instance, an article in the Star Tribune from earlier this year about the budget surplus made no mention of the state's $51,283,282,345 of debt (link to article here). In fact, if you do a word search for "debt" in the article, you will see that word does not appear in the article.
Here's a novel idea: let's use the budget surplus to pay down our debt. Our state's current situation is akin to a family with a reverse mortgage that is also adding zero dollars to savings. The debt keeps growing larger, with no plans to reverse the trend.