Minnesota finance officials are predicting a state budget surplus of more than $1 billion.
That estimate released Thursday means the state can fully pay the remaining IOUs to public schools that piled up during tougher budget times. And it leaves $825 million left for lawmakers to work with during their election-year session.
The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget's comprehensive review of tax-and-spending patterns will help set expectations for the session that starts in February.
The report has an immediate impact for schools, which will receive $246 million in payments that had been previously deferred. The state is also replenishing an airport account from which lawmakers diverted $15 million five years ago.
Governor Mark Dayton said in a statement that the announcement comes after Minnesota added 13,400 jobs since August and over 122,000 jobs since January 2011 - regaining all of the jobs that were lost in the Great Recession. Minnesota was recently ranked eighth in the "Forbes 2013 List of the Best States for Business," and had, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the fifth-fastest growing state economy in the nation last year.