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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

ST. PAUL – Minnesota's latest budget analysis found that our state will see a projected $1.9 billion surplus for the next two year budget cycle. State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) said he was pleased with the report.

"This is great economic news," Torkelson said. "The challenge for lawmakers now becomes what to do with the taxpayers' money."

The windfall comes from both an increase in projected revenue and a decrease in expected spending.

Torkelson said the report also noted that lower gasoline prices meant consumers spent more money on other items, which also helped improve our economy.

"This news verified our thoughts that Governor Dayton's $9 billion tax and fee increase for transportation is not necessary," Torkelson said. "Residents have been very clear that they don't want gasoline costs permanently rising by a minimum of 16-cents per gallon and they want lawmakers to find other ways to pay for road and bridge improvements."

"While I could certainly see some of this surplus being used for roads and bridges as well as nursing home funding, I'm thinking we should also pursue tax relief," Torkelson continued. "I doubt the 'Jesse Check' method of sending money directly back to the taxpayers would ever be approved by this legislature and governor, but I think we should be able to reduce future tax liabilities on hardworking Minnesotans in some fashion."

Torkelson noted that the 2018-19 budget cycle also looks promising, as the projected outlook for those fiscal years currently projects a $3.184 billion surplus.