Minnesota’s previously projected $1.3-billion budget surplus has grown to just over $1.5 billion. That’s about a $181 million increase from the last forecast in November. The Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) office unveiled the new number this morning and lawmakers will spend the rest of the legislative session determining what to do with the money. Democrats are looking to invest in early childhood education, while Senate Republicans want tax cuts for Minnesotans. Governor Walz says keeping the state’s budget reserves in good shape is a priority. And the governor and lawmakers remain far apart on a bottom line for funding for state public works projects. Overall, MMB says the state’s economic outlook is stable–but challenges remain. MMB Commissioner Myron Frans, Governor Walz and legislative leaders plan to address the forecast in more detail later this morning.