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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Friday, May 5, 2023

ST. PAUL – As the State of Minnesota sits on a $17.5 billion budget surplus, Minnesota House Democrats approved what is expected to be their final tax increase proposal of session. Their plan creates a mandatory, government-run paid leave program funded by $3 billion in tax increases that will be leveled on employers and employees.


In all, House Democrats passed $9.5 billion in tax increases, and State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) said many residents are not going to be pleased when they see where this money is going.


“House Democrats have approved a number of bills that dramatically increase the size of government,” Torkelson said. “When people ask where the surplus going and why the Democrats are raising taxes, the answer is to grow government.”


Torkelson references several bills that House Democrats have passed that support his point. For example, the costly paid leave proposal would fund 400 brand new state government employees in order to get the program off the ground. 


The public safety spending bill adds 443 new full-time employees – not for police officers in our communities, but for agencies in St. Paul. It also adds 27 new full-time employees to monitor people’s non-criminal and non-violent speech and writings. The Department of Human Rights would use these workers to collect information submitted by the public to determine if a person’s conversation was biased in any way, and if the agency decided that it was, it would put those individuals on a state bias registry list.


Torkelson said at least 300 new government employees are included in the transportation funding proposal, 73 are included in the education funding proposal, and the list goes on and on.


“At what point do we have enough government,” Torkelson wondered. “Do we really need more bureaucracy and more programs? I don’t think so.”