When I was sworn into the Senate in 2011 things were bad. I inherited a $6 billion dollar deficit. The state had no cash in reserve, and our cash flow account was so dangerously low that Minnesota literally opened up a Bank Line of Credit so checks wouldn’t bounce!
As a result of tough and smart budgeting decisions last year, we are now in a much, much better position and headed in the right direction. The current state budget is in a surplus of about $1.2 billion. We put a billion dollars into cash flow and cash reserves. Budget reports continue showing spending is lower than projected, and revenues higher than expected Things are not perfect and work still needs to be done, but we are very much moving in the right direction.
Largely as a result of the work I did on MN Medicaid spending oversight, focusing on accountability and transparency, more than $100 million taxpayer dollars were returned to the State from HMOs. Another result is a new law requiring independent audits of the MN Medicaid program.
In addition, as a result of my efforts and the questions I asked, there are now four separate federal investigations into potential fraud and misuse of taxpayer dollars in the MN Medicaid program. After we get through the independent auditing process there could be hundreds of millions, if not billions of taxpayer dollars saved and even returned to taxpayers in Minnesota.
We made significant reforms in education, made small steps to start addressing the inequity in the funding formula that shortchanges areas like ours, and in a year with a massive budget deficit we still prioritized and added $650 million to increase state K-12 education funding.
This November I will be humbly asking for your vote.