On January 26, a budget proposal for the 2021-2022 biennium was released by Governor Tim Walz. State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake), said its reliance on significant tax increases is likely to be met with opposition from the legislature.
“Countless Minnesotans have been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Governor didn’t offer a clear plan to reopen businesses,” Hamilton said. “While I appreciate the governor has brought forward a budget plan, any tax increase is only going to hurt the businesses that have already been devastated by the governor’s shutdown orders.”
Minnesota is currently projected to face a $1.2 billion deficit according to the November forecast, but that number will be updated in late February.
Hamilton said Governor Walz wants to increase taxes by $1.7 billion. This includes a 10% income tax hike to Minnesota's top tax bracket, a 15 percent hike to Minnesota's business tax, and regressive tax hikes on cigarettes and vaping products that disproportionately hit low-income Minnesotans.
As for spending reductions in his more than $52 billion budget proposal, Governor Walz is seeking only $150 million in cuts, or .3%.
Hamilton noted that Minnesota also has more than $2 billion in state budget reserves to help with any projected budget deficit our state is facing.
“After we receive an updated budget forecast, our budget reserve should be the first place we look if a budget deficit remains,” Hamilton said. “There is no need to raise taxes in this environment.”