Today, the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released the state’s November budget forecast, which projects the state budget to have a $1.3 billion deficit for the next biennium beginning on July 1, 2021 and running through June 30, 2023.
The current biennium, which ends on June 30, 2021, is now projected to end with a $641 million surplus.
MMB officials projected in May that the state would have a $2.4 billion deficit for the current biennium and a $4.7 billion deficit for the next biennium.
Another budget forecast will be issued in February. Governor Walz and state legislators will use those figures to craft a two-year state budget next legislative session to take effect July 1, 2021.
The 2021 Legislative Session is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 5.
Small Business Relief Legislation
After today’s budget forecast, Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders held separate virtual press conferences to react to the updated budget figures and discuss a potential small business relief package for a December special session.
The governor indicated that the package could be anywhere between $300 million and $600 million. While Walz said a special session could occur as early as this week if there is bipartisan agreement the details of the legislation, House DFL leaders suggested the special session that will likely occur on Monday, December 14. This is the date Walz is likely to have the legislature come back for a special session as he extends his peacetime emergency powers by another 30 days.
Minnesota Department of Health Briefing
This afternoon, officials with the Minnesota Department of Health conducted a press briefing with reporters to update the public on the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health
- Commissioner Malcolm reported 3,570 new cases of COVID-19. This brings that state’s total number of COVID-19 cases thus far to 332,312.
- Yesterday, 22,757 COVID-19 tests were processed in Minnesota.
- There were 22 additional deaths due to COVID-19. This brings the state’s total number of COVID-19 deaths to 3,615.
- Currently, 1,840 patients are hospitalized due to COVID-19 with 394 of those in the ICU.
- The seven-day COVID-19 test positivity average is at 11.2% (as of November 22). This is down from 14.4% a week prior.
- Commissioner Malcolm announced that Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health will hold an in-depth briefing on COVID-19 vaccination next week.
Director Kris Ehresmann, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division
- Director Ehresmann outlined the three-phase approach that Minnesota will take to vaccine distribution.
- o Phase One: Vaccination will be targeted through regional and local public health plans in particular settings that serve populations like healthcare workers.
- o Phase Two: Vaccination will be broadly administered through pharmacies and other healthcare providers. Groups most vulnerable and those who are likely to have the most severe impact from COVID-19 would receive vaccination.
- o Phase Three: The vaccine will be available in plentiful supply and the state will be looking at how it routinely distributes the vaccine.
- The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on December 10 and December 17 to look at whether the FDA should authorize the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, respectively.
- Should the FDA approve the vaccines, FDA officials will make specific decisions on vaccination priority. Once those recommendations happen, Minnesota will still need a week to make sure health professionals have the education and training needed to administer the vaccine.
Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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