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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Linda Runbeck (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Linda Runbeck

Friday, February 22, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

On Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz released details of his first state budget proposal. State law requires governors to submit a budget proposal to the legislature in odd-numbered years. These budget proposals are non-binding, but they give the governor the opportunity to share his own policy and fiscal priorities for the coming biennium and help shape discourse at the capitol as we debate and vote on the budget.

In total, Governor Walz is proposing to spend $49.471 billion in fiscal years 2020-2021. This represents an 8.6 percent increase in spending from the current operating budget that was approved in 2017 and ends June 30th of this year.

Such a dramatic increase in spending is unsustainable and sets the state down a road to a bigger and more expansive government that seeks to influence every single part of our lives.

In addition to the huge increase in spending, Governor Walz’s budget seeks to raise the cost of gas, health care, and many other goods and services that Minnesotans rely on every single day. In total, it raises taxes by more than $3 billion over the next two years at a time when Minnesota has a $1.5 billion budget surplus.

Such a massive tax increase is a non-starter at a time when the state has a $1.5 billion budget surplus.

Perhaps most egregious is his proposal to raise the gas tax by 70 percent. Such an increase would move Minnesota all the way to the fourth highest in the nation. Not only will this take more money out of your personal budget, but it will also raise the costs of goods and services.

The governor is also proposing to reinstate the provider tax. This is a tax levied on most patient services in Minnesota, including things like baby deliveries, chemotherapy treatments, routine doctor visits, emergency room visits, and more.

By reinstating this tax, Governor Walz is adding more than a billion dollars to the cost of health care over the next two years. Simply put, you don't lower health care costs by increasing health care taxes.

While the governor’s budget is indeed ambitious, it is wrong for Minnesota. With the state’s $1.5 billion budget surplus, we should not be growing the size of government or raising taxes on citizens.

For myself, I will continue to advocate for tax relief and reducing the size of government in order to maximize freedom and opportunity for all Minnesotans.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Governor Walz’s budget proposal or any other matter related to state government, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-2907 or via email at rep.linda.runbeck@house.mn.

Have a great weekend,

Linda

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