ST. PAUL — With only days remaining in the 2023 legislative session and no end in sight for a conference committee that will set tax policy in the state for the next two years, State Representative Mark Wiens (R-Lake Elmo) is wondering if Minnesotans will see any tax relief.
“With a $17.5 billion surplus, we should be focused this session on providing our hardworking families with permanent, meaningful tax relief,” said Wiens. “I am really disappointed to see spending on growing our bureaucracy prioritized over growing family budgets. There is no reason to raise billions of dollars in taxes when we have such a historic surplus.”
While Democrats talked a good game about tax relief last fall, their legislative actions have spoken louder than their campaign pledges. Among the Democrats’ broken tax relief promises:
- Social Security tax relief. Despite nearly universal agreement among Democrat candidates to eliminate the unnecessary taxation on Social Security benefits for all of Minnesota’s senior citizens, talks of following through on that promise disappeared almost immediately after the Legislature gaveled into session in January. Recently, talks resumed on increasing the number of seniors who might qualify for taxation exemption, but a full elimination for all elderly residents is almost certainly dead.
- Baby products. Among the decisions the Democrat-controlled Taxes conference committee has made is to remove an overwhelmingly bipartisan provision that would eliminate sales taxes from baby products. This tax exemption provides meaningful support for all parents in Minnesota as they expand their families and is especially helpful for first-time parents who may be overwhelmed at the costs of bringing a baby home safely.
- Rebate checks. Following Sen. Rest’s comments about an “insatiable appetite to raise taxes” will talks of providing rebate checks disappear? Governor Walz began session by stating that he wanted $2,000 rebates sent to married couples making $150,000 or less and $1,000 checks sent to single filers making $75,000 or less each year. As it stands today, legislative Democrats are only offering $550 for the same joint filers and $275 for singles. Could this amount decline even more or be eliminated altogether as the surplus well runs dry?
- Gas tax increase? The Democrats found plenty of taxes and fees to raise in the transportation arena – including a ¾ cent Metro Area sales tax and increases on license tab renewals and the motor vehicle sales tax, to name a few – but raising the gasoline tax in the face of a mammoth budget surplus was supposed to be off the table. Now, in the waning hours of session, Democrats won’t rule out having the gas tax tied to inflation, which would further financially devastate drivers who are currently paying nearly $4 per gallon.
“Despite our differences on the campaign trail, Democrats and Republicans all pledged to Minnesotans that we would deliver permanent, meaningful tax relief,” said Wiens. “I am in St. Paul working for you to deliver on my promise to support your family budget. I hope we can come together in the final days of session to provide Minnesota families with the tax relief they deserve.”