ST. PAUL – Minnesota lawmakers received some welcome news recently as part of our state’s revised economic budget forecast.
On December 7, the Minnesota Management and Budget Office reported a projected $7.746 billion surplus for the 2022-2023 biennium budget.
“This is welcome news, as it shows Minnesotans have been spending money and supporting businesses as much as they can in the face of a pandemic,” said State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake).
According to the Minnesota Management and Budget Office, strong growth in income, consumer spending, higher tax receipts and slightly lowered state spending helped contribute to the surplus projection.
With this positive news, Hamilton said legislative leadership must tackle and eliminate Minnesota’s unemployment insurance trust fund debt. Minnesota owes the federal government roughly $1.13 billion for covering unemployment insurance trust fund deficits. If the legislature does not utilize available funds, Hamilton said it will lead to higher payroll taxes on state businesses, which some have estimated at nearly 15 percent.
“It defies common sense to force job providers to pay higher taxes when Minnesota has a nearly $8 billion surplus and another $1 billion from federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds that are waiting to be allocated,” Hamilton said. “Even though Governor Walz forced many of these businesses owners to close last year – some permanently – those that reopened have soldiered on through unprecedented times and kept their communities alive.”
“One thing is certain, tax increases should not be on the table as we look to set our next budget,” Hamilton continued. “Our residents are already suffering from higher prices on literally everything from soup to nuts, and our local business owners have suffered enough.”