ST. PAUL (AP) -- State economists say Minnesota's budget outlook has swung from a $1.3 billion deficit to a $1.6 billion surplus.

The projections released Friday will set up the debates for the rest of the legislative session over taxes and spending.

State Representative Lisa Demuth of Cold Spring says the budget is in far better shape than was was projected in recent months.

Now we know exactly what we're working with as we look to put a new state budget in place by the end of May. We spent the first part of this session talking about general budgeting concepts and now can shift to discussing specific plans. Our overal mission should be to help businesses and families that have been impacted during the pandemic recover from financial setbacks they've experienced, due to restriction placed on them or otherwise. Tax increases are unnecessary, would be detrimental to regrowing our economy and should be set aside during negotiations.

Minnesota Management and Budget says projections have improved due to an improved U.S. economic outlook, which has been bolstered by stimulus measures the federal government has taken since the state agency issued its last forecast in November.

The agency also cites a higher revenue forecast, lower projected state spending, and an increased surplus for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

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