State law requires the sitting governor to submit a budget proposal to the legislature in each odd-numbered year. The Governor’s recommended budget is the first step in a process that ultimately results in a negotiated biennial budget enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.
On Tuesday, Governor Walz submitted his first ever budget proposal to the legislature. As you can probably imagine, the governor’s budget included a slew of tax increases and unsustainable, out-of-control state spending. Put more specifically, the governor’s budget proposes $49.471 billion over the next two years. This is an 8.6 percent increase above the budget that was passed and signed into law in 2017.
In addition to increased spending, the governor’s budget also proposes more than $3 billion in tax increases over the next two years alone and $4.7 billion in tax increases for 2022-2023.
His proposal includes raising Minnesota's gas tax by 70 percent—vaulting Minnesota's gas tax to 4th highest in the nation. It also includes increases to tab fees, the motor vehicle sales tax, the Metro Area sales tax, business taxes, and reinstatement of the sick tax, which is set to expire at the end of the year, adding $1 billion to the cost of health care for Minnesotans over the next two years.
I’m extremely concerned about the massive tax increases considering the state already has a $1.5 billion budget surplus. We should not be raising taxes to the tune of $3 billion over the next two years with such a sizable budget surplus.
All in all, his proposal is a tax and spend free-for-all that would set Minnesota down a road of structural budget deficits. Thankfully, the governor’s proposal is merely a list of priorities at this point. I would expect the GOP majority in the Senate to make sure many, if not all, of these taxes remain on the cutting room floor. Either way, stay tuned on this as budget negotiations are likely to dominate the conversation the rest of session.
In addition to Governor Walz’s budget proposal, I was proud to introduce legislation this week for funding, exhibit design, and educational programming for a new children’s museum planned to be built in the lakes area in the coming months. This museum, paired with the local zoo, present additional programming for children and their families in our area.
Senator Andrew Mathews is carrying the legislation in the Senate and I am hopeful that we can get this passed and signed into law this year.
Finally, I was happy to meet with a group of local folks this week from the Todd-Wadena Electric Co-op. Thanks for stopping by!
That’s all for this week’s update. I will have more for you as the session progresses as it’s sure to be a busy year. In the meantime, I urge you to contact me if you have any legislative questions, concerns, or ideas. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5356 or via email email@example.com.
Have a good weekend,