ST. PAUL – State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) said Minnesota’s latest budget forecast found a surplus that has now grown to a record high.
Minnesota’s budget analysts now project a $9.25 billion surplus for our state. This is nearly $1.5 billion more than the previous projection that was issued three months ago.
“Moving forward, significant tax relief simply has to be part of the surplus discussion,” Torkelson said.
Torkelson said the first place to start is preventing a local business owner tax increase of 15% or more from taking effect on March 15. A debt of more than $1 billion in Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund must be repaid, and unless the legislature agrees to use surplus funding to cover the cost, every local employer will be hit with tax increases to make up the funding difference.
Torkelson said a mammoth surplus also allows the state to provide historic - and permanent - tax relief to the hardworking Minnesotans who are struggling to pay the rising costs on food, gasoline, energy, and other cost-of-living necessities that have skyrocketed in price under the Biden/Walz economy.
Torkelson said there are many tax relief areas that can be addressed with a surplus of this magnitude, including eliminating the tax on Social Security benefits and reducing income tax rates for the middle class.
“State government has enough of your money, and lawmakers need to find ways that allow you to keep more of what you earn,” Torkelson said. “A one-time check might look nice when it shows up in the mailbox, but I’m more interested in allowing you to keep more of your paycheck for the rest of your life.”
Torkelson said he also favors using some surplus funds to pay for road and bridge improvements and other reconstruction projects that hold statewide significance. He also believes this is the perfect time to give raises to group home, nursing home, assisted living, and home care workers who take care of Minnesota’s most vulnerable residents.