Greetings from the Minnesota House, where the 2022 session is now approximately 25 percent complete. Most of our time continues to be spent in committee meetings moving bills through the process. Here is a quick look at some of this week’s major headlines from the Capitol:
Larger surplus should mean more tax relief
Tax relief is a major priority at the Capitol this session and the state’s latest economic forecast only expanded the golden opportunity before us.
Minnesota Management & Budget now projects a $9.3 billion biennial surplus, $1.5 billion more than the already historic $7.7 billion surplus projected in November.
While a surplus beats a shortfall, it is mind-boggling for our government to have nearly $10 billion in excess revenue at a time families and businesses throughout Minnesota are struggling with higher prices on gas, food and everything in between these days. This surplus needs to be converted to meaningful, permanent tax relief and ending our state’s tax on Social Security is just the start of it.
The state already is fully funded for the biennium, so there is not excuse for failing to provide real relief to Minnesotans.
Time running out to stop unnecessary tax on biz
This massive surplus also underscores the injustice it would be to allow Minnesota businesses to suffer large tax increases by failing to fully replenish the state’s unemployment insurance fund by the March 15 deadline.
Reports are starting to emerge regarding exactly how large the UI tax increases on businesses would be if House Democrats drop the ball. One recent article quotes members of the Greater Minnesota business community saying they face tax increases in the tens of thousands of dollars next year unless this issue is resolved. This would end up causing prices to up even more for consumers who already are facing price increases at 40-year highs.
Bottom line: The state has far more money than it needs, and the Senate already passed a bipartisan bill that puts this UI issue to rest. House Democrats need to stop playing partisan games so we can get this done.
House Republican plan to improve public safety
House Republicans held a news conference this week to unveil our 2022 public safety priorities, designed to help us get a grip on the outbreak of violent crime our state is experiencing. The package of bills we propose are focused on three key areas: crime prevention and accountability for criminals; police recruitment and retention; and holding the criminal justice system accountable.
Public safety is another top priority for Minnesotans and this package would answer the bell by holding criminals accountable, strengthening our criminal justice system, and reinforcing efforts to recruit police officers and mitigate the shortage many of our cities face today.
Until next time, your messages always are welcome and please let me know how I can help.