QUIET END TO 2022 SESSION COULD BE POSITIVE FOR NEXT YEAR
The 2022 legislative session is now in the books. Though some might be discouraged that lawmakers did not give a specific direction to our projected state surplus, I am not among them.
Sure, I am disappointed that we were not able to get a tax relief bill across the finish line. The problem is the approval of a tax bill would have been made in exchange for billions of dollars in new, and permanent, spending obligations within state government, as that was the priority of the House Democrat majority. In fact, the supplemental budget plan approved by the House majority earlier this session would have spent $21 for every $1 it cut in taxes. So, it was far from an even trade.
We also did not have to do anything with the state surplus, as it was not a budget year. We set the state’s budget last year, and spent roughly $52 billion in the process. Any amount of spending that was approved in supplemental budget spending this year – and estimates had that total as high as $5 billion – would have been new, permanent spending added to the $52 billion.
Not spending away the surplus does have its benefits. If the economy bottoms out, we will then have billions of dollars at the ready to assist with state needs. If our finances stay strong, House Republicans will come back next year to focus on the priorities of Minnesota families — we will help Minnesotans struggling with record inflation and soaring gas prices in the Biden/Walz economy by delivering massive tax cuts, and work to make our communities safer with investments in public safety and by holding criminals accountable.
If our legislative work is indeed finished for the year, we are set to enter the 2023 session in a very strong financial position. The potential exists for Governor Walz to call us back in to special session, but it is unlikely that he would do so unless the House and Senate majorities have reached some form of agreement. Stay tuned.