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ST. PAUL – As Minnesota awaits its next budget update at the end of the month, State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) said Minnesota House committees have begun to discuss and analyze Governor Dayton’s $46 billion budget proposal.
“He’s asking for a 9.5 percent increase over last biennium when Minnesotans are averaging a 1.5 percent increase in their personal salaries,” Gunther said. “We have to be able to afford the cost of government, so our challenge is to find ways to reduce what the governor wants yet have him sign important legislation.”
Gunther said the governor has now prioritized a number of House Republican tax relief provisions that he vetoed last year. They include an expansion of the Minnesota Child and Dependent Care Credit and the Working Family Credit; the expansion of a new farmer tax credit equaling 40 percent of the property tax attributable to school district debt levies; angel tax credits; past military service credit increases; and Local Government Aid and County Program Aid increases.
Gunther added that the governor’s tax increase plans are facing significant resistance in the House. They include $1.5 billion in new taxes and fees over the next two years alone by increases in the gas tax, tab fees, and new license/title surcharges, and another $1.4 billion tax increase on trips to the doctor by extending the provider tax, otherwise known as the sick tax.
“We’ll know more about our economic future in the coming days, but it’s nonsensical to raise taxes when your state could have a $1 billion surplus,” Gunther said. “The governor wants to spend so much money and the problem is we can’t afford everything. It is helpful that he outlined his priorities, and soon the House will have a budget proposal of its own.”
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