ST. PAUL – The 2023 legislative session concluded Monday and Rep. Jeff Dotseth, R-Silver Township, said it will be most remembered for Democrats increasing state spending by more than 40 percent while raising taxes by $10 billion despite a $17.5 billion state surplus.
Dotseth said the new two-year state budget will increase spending from $52 billion to $72 billion. Tax hikes include raising the state’s gas tax by 3.5 cents per gallon and tying it to inflation, increasing license tab fees, adding a 50-cent delivery tax, a new payroll tax that will hit employers and employees alike, and more.
“It’s really out of touch with Minnesotans to increase state spending by more than 40 percent at a time Minnesotans are struggling to make ends meet with higher prices across the board,” Dotseth said. “And raising taxes by nearly $10 billion at a time the state already has a massive surplus is the real kicker. People see the state has the largest surplus in history and need some relief, yet Democrats are making everyday life even more expensive by making the tax burden even larger.”
Meanwhile, Dotseth said Democrats failed to provide a full elimination of the state’s Social Security tax despite nearly universal support for that move. And, after Gov. Tim Walz began the session by supporting $2,000 surplus rebates for joint filers, Dotseth said Democrats ultimately approved just a fraction of that amount – $260 per person, or $520 per couple.
Aside from state finances, Dotseth indicated Democrats enacted several highly controversial, partisan policy measures. He said this includes adopting some of the world’s most extreme abortion policy, enacting a state-funded speech registry that could undermine First Amendment rights, declaring Minnesota a sanctuary state for transgender healthcare – for children and adopting gun-control laws Dotseth indicated will do more to burden law-abiding citizens than thwart violent criminals. In addition, Dotseth said a Democrat provision will end electronic pull tabs as we know them, dealing a major blow to local charitable organizations.
“My approach from the day I was sworn into office has remained on doing my best to represent all the people in District 11A,” Dotseth said. “Sometimes that means working across the aisle to find bipartisan agreement with members of the Democrat trifecta of power. Other times, that means digging in my heels and standing my ground – and there’s been some of both this session.”
Both legislative bodies approved a capital investment package to fund infrastructure projects around the state Monday, just hours before the 2023 session adjourned. Dotseth landed funding for numerous District 11A projects, including:
- $17.5 million: Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (Cloquet, Thompson Township, city of Carlton)
- $10 million: Carlton County female offender and judicial facility
- $5 million: Cloquet water infrastructure
“A lot of needs have gone unmet in our area and I am pleased that we have made progress in getting people in St. Paul to start listening to us,” Dotseth said. “These are important projects that people in our district need and it is good we were able to deliver.”
Dotseth also said legislative Republicans scored a big win for nursing homes by successfully negotiating $300 million more than Democrats had proposed. He said this added funding will help that industry at a time nursing homes have been forced to close and families have been left scrambling to find care for their loved ones.