‘Now democracy starts,’ Walz says as deficit becomes surplus

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota’s budget outlook has swung from a $1.3 billion deficit to a $1.6 billion surplus.

The improvement could ease the big debates for the rest of the legislative session over taxes and spending. Minnesota has the only Legislature where different parties control the two chambers.

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz says the work of democracy now begins. He expressed some readiness to compromise with Republican leaders, who say the surplus means there’s no need to raise taxes.

Budget Commissioner John Schowalter says the rosier projection is due to an improved U.S. economic outlook, which has been bolstered by stimulus money.