On May 5, the Minnesota Management and Budget Office released new revenue projections, and the news was not good.

Back in February, State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) notes Minnesota was looking at a roughly $1.5 billion surplus.

“With Governor Walz’ continued efforts to force people to stay at home and keep far too many businesses closed, we have seen a negative economic change totaling nearly $4 billion,” Gunther said.

Gunther said Minnesota now faces a $2.426 billion budget deficit. Sales tax collections are down $1.3 billion, and individual income tax collections are down $1.65 billion.

Gunther added that he’s hearing from a growing number of constituents that Minnesota needs to re-open for business, and soon.

“I’m hearing from people who are able to attend church just across the Iowa border but can’t think about it here,” Gunther said. “People want hair salons and barber shops open, and they want to make routine dental appointments. The reality is that Minnesota cannot continue to keep its doors closed for much longer, as I hear 50 percent of the restaurants in our area will not make if they can’t open before July.”

Gunther also noted the latest Minnesota unemployment claims stands at 613,216 which suggests an unemployment rate higher than 25 percent.