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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Friday, February 22, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

On Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz released his budget proposal for the 2020-2021 biennium. Every two years, the governor of the state releases a budget proposal—signaling their spending and legislative priorities for the coming biennium.

Governor Walz’s budget is highlighted by more than $3 billion in tax increases over the next two years alone and $4.7 billion in tax increases in 2022-2023. His proposal would raise Minnesota's gas tax by twenty cents—a massive 70 percent increase—vaulting Minnesota's gas tax to 4th highest in the nation.

His budget also includes increases to tab fees, the motor vehicle sales tax, the Metro Area sales tax, business taxes, and reinstatement of the sick tax, which is set to expire at the end of the year, adding $1 billion to the cost of health care for Minnesotans over the next two years.

With the state’s $1.5 billion budget surplus, I am perplexed as to why Governor Walz would propose to raise taxes this dramatically. The governor’s proposal to raise the gas tax by 70% is a complete non-starter. Instead of looking for ways to take more and more money out of Minnesotans’ pocketbooks and family budgets, we should be working to reduce their tax burden.

In addition to the massive tax increases, Governor Walz’s budget proposal does nothing to address the structural issues with the individual health care market.

Instead, the governor has proposed a 20% premium subsidy for those who do not receive federal tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. There are no reforms to prevent rates from skyrocketing, and his premium subsidy proposal would very likely mean that the administration is proposing to pay twice as much for subsidies than a plan like reinsurance would cost—ultimately forcing Minnesotans to pay higher premiums on the individual market.

As you can see, Governor Walz’s budget is just the latest example of Democrats’ obsession with raising taxes and growing government. Simply put, the governor’s proposal is wrong for Minnesota. While a number of these proposals will likely pass the DFL controlled House, I am hopeful that the Senate GOP majority will hold the line and make sure that Governor Walz’s radical proposals do not become law.

In the meantime, I urge you to contact me to share your thoughts on the governor’s budget proposal. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn.

Thanks and have a good weekend,

Glenn

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