Hello from the State Capitol,
This week, Governor Walz gave his State of the State address in the Minnesota House chamber. It’s always interesting to hear a governor’s opinion on how the state is doing. In this case, the Democrats are in complete control of state government, so obviously Governor Walz was not going to say Minnesota is going down the tubes. He even went so far as to indicate there would be no compromise from his agenda and that his policies would be implemented. This would imply that the voice of the minority would not be considered.
You’ll recall that during the budget target discussion, the governor, House speaker, and Senate majority leader all agreed to increase spending this session by $18 billion, eliminate our entire budget surplus in the process, AND increase taxes by billions of dollars. Those specifics are now making their way to the House floor through comprehensive spending bills for each area of government. A lot of the budget areas are now submitting their funding bills with increased spending well over 30%.
In the transportation area where I serve as the Republican lead in the Minnesota House, we are seeing plenty of tax increases for transportation-related purposes. They include implementing a ¾ of a cent sales tax increase in the Metro Area; instituting a 75-cent delivery tax that will be implemented every time someone drops off a food order or package at your front door, raising the costs of license tab renewals, and increasing in the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax.
In all, these Democrat tax and fee increases would total nearly $3.5 billion over the next 4 years. We are doing everything we can to resist these “revenue raisers” and instead push towards using surplus dollars for this purpose. The importance of transportation funding is evident, but there is plenty of available revenue in one-time and long-term surplus dollars that we should be using instead of raising taxes. Road and bridge infrastructure is one of the prime responsibilities of the State, which should show a need for major support from the general fund. I voted no on this plan.
Spending is the name of the game in the state government finance bill that was also approved this week. This bill grows the bureaucracy by 41% and gives massive pay raises to politicians. also would bring 341 new full-time government employees into the fold, an astounding amount that I’m not convinced the state agencies even asked for. Finally, it dedicates $5 million to redesign the state flag, which is $1.1 million more than Democrats chose to spend addressing our legitimate nursing home crisis. Talk about misplaced priorities. This bill was a very easy no vote for me as well.
Looking ahead at our House floor schedule for next week, it appears more spending bills will be coming forward. I’ll be sure to keep you updated.
Have a good weekend,