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

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Thursday, February 22, 2024

ST. PAUL – With the 2024 session now underway, State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) said he’s hearing from numerous residents who are disappointed that legislative Democrats and Governor Walz are failing to live up to the promises they made on the campaign trail that could make their lives easier in this precarious economy.


“Democrats made plenty of tax relief promises, and they have failed to deliver,” Torkelson said. “Just this week they had another opportunity to make good on another financial promise that would help Minnesotans, and once again they chose to ignore it.”


Torkelson noted that in the fall of 2022, most Democrats promised that, if they were elected to office, they would fully exempt all Minnesotans from state taxes on Social Security benefits. Despite overwhelming support of the idea from both sides of the political aisle, the proposal never made it out of committee.


After learning that Minnesota had a nearly $17 billion surplus, Governor Walz promised $2,000 rebate checks to Minnesotans. Instead, many were lucky if they received $260 after Democrats chose to spend that surplus, raised taxes by an additional $10 billion, and increased state spending by an unbelievable 40%. Worse, those Minnesotans who did receive the $260 rebate are now being taxed on it.


Recently, both DFL chairs of the House and Senate taxes committee said they would fix a Net Operating Loss (NOL) provision in statute at the earliest possible opportunity. The provision provides small business owners with a reduction in taxable income. 


Legislation was approved on February 19 that eliminated errors that had been approved in the Democrats’ tax bill last session. Torkelson said House Democrats had the opportunity to include NOL tax relief in this legislation, but they refused to support it. 


“These aren’t partisan issues, but when one political party promises to do something and then repeatedly stands in the way of making their promises reality, it becomes difficult to take their word seriously,” Torkelson concluded.