One of the biggest questions entering the 2022 legislative session centered on what the legislature was going to do with a more than $9 billion budget surplus.
With session now in our rearview mirror, the answer turned out to be ‘hang on to most of it.’
Despite legislative leadership and Governor Walz striking a deal on a plan that would spend billions of dollars while providing some tax relief and leaving some revenue on the bottom line, the specifics were not ironed out before session ended. Compromise was found in some supplemental budget spending areas, as well as on a tax relief plan. In other areas of state government, they weren’t even close. This can happen when only a handful of people are making a decision, leaving everyone else frustrated.
There are several success stories from the 2022 session. We extended our reinsurance program, which significantly lowers health insurance premium rates for those Minnesotans who are forced to purchase it on the individual market. We authorized bonus checks to front-line workers who put their lives on the line to help the sick during the early stages of the pandemic. We also solved our unemployment insurance trust fund debt problem, which eliminated a 15% tax increase on every Minnesota employer.
But on Minnesotans’ top priorities this session - inflation and public safety – the House Democrat majority failed to deliver on either of those issues.
Because this was not a budget year, lawmakers essentially did not have to approve any spending adjustments. State government is fully funded through June of next year, and there is no danger of a shutdown.
With that in mind, House Republicans will focus next session on making our communities safer with investments in public safety and by holding criminals accountable while helping Minnesotans who are struggling to pay their bills by delivering massive, permanent tax cuts.