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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On December 2, budget officials unveiled our state’s latest economic projection. The number, as it has been in the past few forecasts, demonstrated a significant over-collection of the peoples’ money.


For the 2016-17 budget cycle that ends this summer, state government has a $678 million surplus. For the 2018-19 biennium – or the period in which lawmakers will craft a budget during the upcoming legislative session – we have a $1.4 billion projected balance. With the trend projected to continue, we’re also on track to see this surplus more than double to over $2.8 billion during the 2020-21 budget cycle.


It’s worth noting that revenue collections are down from a previous analysis, but we’re still projected to collect more than $45 billion from taxpayers over the next two years.


To quote the name of a game played on The Price is Right, “that’s too much!”


It’s time for government to yield to the people. They are the ones who continue to create any state budget surplus though their payment of taxes to the state, and we need to give them a long overdue financial break.


You’ll recall that’s what we attempted to do last session. Under the plan approved by 90 percent of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, we prioritized low to middle class Minnesotans by passing tax relief for working families, farmers, college students, Main Street business owners, and others.


In an unreal display of political gamesmanship, Governor Dayton ignored the overwhelmingly bipartisan will of the legislature and vetoed the proposal. With yet another projected budget surplus, it’s a certainty that during the 2017 session we’ll approve a similar plan.


As chairman of the Minnesota House Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division, I once again look forward to finding ways to reduce your tax obligations. These consecutive rapidly growing surpluses are proof that our state does not need more of your money. My goal moving forward is to reduce the amount that government takes from you, allowing you to keep more of what you earn.