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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bjorn Olson (R)

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

ST. PAUL – State Representative Bjorn Olson (R-Fairmont) said there’s a shred of good news and lots of bad news to report on the budget front at the State Capitol.


The one positive, according to Olson, is that the governor, Senate majority leader, and House speaker have all agreed to a budget target, which means Minnesotans won’t have to wait months before learning how much these Democrat leaders want to spend over the next budget cycle.


The bad news? Democrat leaders do want to spend your money. The three leaders recognized the State of Minnesota had a $17 billion budget surplus, and chose to increase spending by $17.9 billion.


“In a session that’s been dominated by head-scratching priorities brought forward by the majority party, this decision may top them all,” Olson said.


Olson said the Democrats’ $17.9 billion in new spending represents a 35 percent increase from the current $52 billion budget, meaning state government spending during Fiscal Year 2024-25 will total more than $70 billion. Olson added that most of their spending priorities will be permanent.


Because the spending outpaces the available surplus resources, Olson said the Democrats will need to raise taxes in order to make the numbers work.


“Unbelievably, the Democrats will be raising taxes while Minnesota sits on a $17 billion budget windfall,” Olson said. “Most people in southern Minnesota were hoping for significant tax decreases with this budget surplus. Instead, they will be seeing significant tax increases and a surplus that will be used to permanently increase state government spending.”


Olson said the specific tax increases the Democrats are prioritizing will be seen in their budget bills that will be debated on the House floor in the weeks ahead.