Top lawmakers predict a modest increase in the state’s already-sizeable budget surplus when the latest economic forecast comes out this morning. But they have sharp differences over what to do with the extra money. Governor Mark Dayton says education is his top priority — particularly state funding for universal pre-kindergarten. Republican leaders respond evidence shows pre-k does nothing to close the achievement gap between white students and students-of-color. Top G-O-P lawmakers say a surplus demonstrates the state has overcollected and the money should go for tax relief. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Tom Bakk says a long-term plan to improve transportation in the state is among his top priorities. But Democrats and Republicans strongly disagree on how to do it. Governor Mark Dayton continues arguing that a gas tax increase is the only way to permanently address the state’s transportation needs. Republicans respond, with such a large budget surplus, no tax increase is needed.