The 2023 Legislative session has ended, and it will likely be remembered as the year the legislative Democrat majorities and Governor Walz agree to spend the surplus while raising $9.7 billion in taxes on Minnesotans in order to pay for continued government growth. Residents may also be interested to learn that the cities of Sartell and Sauk Rapids will also receive funding for infrastructure improvement, eligibility for Social Security tax relief has been broadened, and an increase to the gas tax and a brand new delivery fee is being implemented.
THE LARGEST TAX INCREASE IN STATE HISTORY
Combining all the tax increases passed this week, the majority party is raising taxes on Minnesotans by nearly $10 billion despite the state’s record breaking $17.5 billion budget surplus—including a new gas tax increase, a Twin Cities Metro area sales tax increase, higher car tab fees, higher boat registration fee, and more. Their budget represents more than 40% growth in state government spending, which is the largest increase in decades and vastly outpaces the state’s economic growth of roughly 3% annually.
SOCIAL SECURITY TAX RELIEF EXTENDED
As expected, more senior citizens, but not all, will see the tax on their Social Security income eliminated. Despite Democrats campaigning on eliminating the tax on Social Security, 200,000 Minnesotans will still be taxed on those benefits.
Married filers and surviving spouses making $100,000 adjusted gross income (AGI), single and head of household filers making $78,000 AGI and married separate filers making $50,000 AGI and under will now be exempt from paying Social Security taxes. There is also a reduced phaseout that starts at any income over the above thresholds, going up to $140,000.
Republican persistence is the reason any changes were made, as the majority had been ignoring their campaign promise until the final weeks of session.
REPUBLICANS GIVE NURSING HOMES MUCH NEEDED FINANCIAL ATTENTION
Facing an existential crisis, Republicans fought tooth and nail to save our nursing homes and support our seniors. The majority party ignored the pleas from our nursing homes until Republicans stepped in. You’ll recall the original House majority budget allocated a measly $3.9 million to address this crisis. Striking a late-session deal, Republicans secured $300 million for nursing homes, which will hopefully prevent many from permanently shutting their doors.
GAS TAX INCREASE AND DELIVERY FEE ARE COMING
The majority party is finally getting the gas tax hike it’s been seeking for over a decade, tying the gas tax to inflation, which will further financially devastate drivers who are currently paying nearly $4 per gallon. At-home shoppers will also pay a 50-cent delivery fee on deliveries over $100. Exemptions include deliveries for groceries, prepared food, baby products, and feminine hygiene products. The tax would begin on July 1, 2024, and is the largest delivery tax in the U.S.
INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS COMING TO SARTELL AND SAUK RAPIDS
A capital investment package was approved on the final night of session, and it included bills I sponsored that address needed infrastructure improvements in our district.
The first proposal appropriates funding for construction and improvements needed for Town Line Road from Stearns County Road 5 to Stearns County Road 4. These improvements will create safer road conditions and will positively impact the cities of Sartell and St. Stephen, as well as Brockway, Le Sauk, and St. Wendell townships. The second will go towards flood hazard mitigation efforts for neighborhoods in the western portion of Sartell. There’s good news for the City of Sauk Rapids as well, as it will receive funding to help replace lead pipes.
KEEP IN TOUCH
As always, I'm continuing to support constituent needs. Feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. or by phone at 651-296-7808.
Have a good weekend,