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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Friday, December 4, 2015

The big news from the State Capitol is the announcement from economic experts that Minnesota is once again projected to see a significant budget surplus.


This is once again proof that hardworking Minnesotans are paying too much to their state government, as any surplus is created through higher than expected revenue collections and lower than expected government spending.


While the $1.871 billion windfall is positive, it should also be taken with a grain of salt. Roughly $865 million was left unspent when the 2016-17 state budget was crafted last year, and a significant portion of the projected surplus - about $665 million - will be sent to budget reserves and will be used to make certain payments that are directed by state law. This would leave a $1.2 billion balance.


For me, the only solution to this surplus debate is to cut taxes. Now.


Minnesota spent $42 billion on state programs for the next budget cycle, which is the largest budget in our state's history. These spending decisions are now law, and government is fully funded. Now it's time for the people who pay for this mammoth government to see some much needed relief.


The House approved $2 billion in tax relief for middle-class Minnesotans last session, and that bill remains in conference committee, meaning a compromise could be worked and voted upon at any point next session.


Main Street business owners could benefit from cutting the state general tax – a state property tax that all local businesses pay on top of their local property taxes. Aging adults living on fixed income could receive relief from the phasing-out of the tax on social security. Farmers could receive relief through a property tax credit that reduces their disproportionate share of school district debt service.


Families with pre-kindergarteners could receive relief through the expansion of the education deduction to include pre-kindergarten expenses. College students could receive student loan debt relief through a NEW tax credit for principal and interest loan payments on student loans. The possibilities for hardworking taxpayers truly are endless.


With that in mind, our top two priorities next session should be very clear: use our projected surplus for tax relief, and adjourn session quickly thereafter so the Minneapolis liberals won't have time to find more new ways to waste your money.