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Minnesota's State Budget

Minnesota enacts budgets for a two-year cycle (a biennium), beginning on July 1 of each odd-numbered year. The budget approved for the current biennium remains in effect from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013. By law, the Governor must propose a biennial budget in January of odd numbered years. The current budget, FY 2014-15 was enacted in May 2013 for the biennium that began July 1, 2013 and which ends on June 30, 2015.

Once enacted by the legislature, the budget can be modified in the “off-year” legislative session. As a result of state forecasts and other changes, it has become common for the Legislature to enact annual revisions to the state’s biennial budget. These revisions are referred to as supplemental budgets.

State expenditures are usually monitored through an annual spending plan prepared by each agency. These plans ensure that spending remains within authorized levels and are consistent with the statutory purpose of the agency. The state’s accounting system includes more than 150 discrete funds that operate much like individual bank accounts with specific sources of revenue.

The state’s largest single fund is the General Fund. State collections of individual income taxes, retail sales taxes, business, and other taxes are deposited into this fund. Expenditures from the state General Fund can be made for any authorized state activity subject to legislative appropriation limits. Other state funds are less flexible. For example, certain revenues such as motor vehicle fuel taxes or hunting license fees are deposited into funds that can only be spent for the specific purposes established in the state constitution or in state statutes. In budget terms, these are referred to as "dedicated funds."