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

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Legislative Update: Runaway Spending in St. Paul

Friday, May 20, 2022

On Monday, the Triumvirate of Governor Tim Walz, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate Majority Leader announced a massive agreement to close out the 2022 legislative session. The deal, which is being rushed through the legislative process, will spend billions of taxpayer dollars.

Specifically, the framework of the agreement will include additional spending of $1 billion for health and human services, $1 billion for education, $1.5 billion for “additional investment,” $450 billion for public safety, and a bonding bill that could total $1.4 billion. Furthermore, a $4 billion tax bill is also a part of the agreement. This tax bill may contain some tax cuts, but there is certain to be even more spending in that bill.

In total, this $8 billion end-of-session deal will contain huge amounts of spending and barely any tax cuts. As I’ve said many times before, the Minnesota Legislature should not be spending one more dime of the people’s money. In June of 2021, we passed a two-year budget that fully funded state government through June of 2023. There is no need whatsoever to embark on a misguided, ill-considered spending spree.

Right now, $7.4 billion of the $9.2 billion projected surplus remains unspent. If this end-of-session spending deal goes into effect, then that surplus will be eliminated. What kind of backwards thinking is that? Government is fully funded and has more money than it needs. What we need to do is give all the surplus back to the people where it belongs. Instead, spend-happy politicians are planning on wasting your money so they can feel good about themselves.

This is the worst kind of legislating. Basically, three individuals (the governor, speaker, and senate majority leader) met behind closed doors at the eleventh hour to cut a deal. There are only three days to go before the legislative session ends, and we still do not know the details of this agreement. Despite this, legislators will be forced to vote on this agreement at the last moment without really knowing what is in it. The lack of transparency and timeliness is unacceptable.

Finally, the people of Minnesota will not get a chance to look through the details of this crazy $8 billion deal and voice their opinion before it is put to a vote. This opaque process is nothing short of a total circus. I will do everything in my power to stop this deal and oppose the ridiculous spending it contains. The Triumvirate should not be using your tax dollars on a wasteful, needless spending plan that is forced through at the last hour with no accountability.

Steve Drazkowski