ST. PAUL – State Rep. Jerry Hertaus, R-Greenfield, issued the following statement regarding Thursday’s news that Minnesota has a $1.3 billion budget surplus for FY20-21. Hertaus is a House Ways and Means committee member, State Government Finance committee member and Republican lead on the Property Tax Committee.
“Last session, Republicans lead efforts to piggyback on federal tax reforms to further lower Minnesota taxes on hard working Minnesotans and their employers,” Hertaus said. “Instead, Democrats opposed most tax and policy reform efforts and refused to end the previously enacted sunset of the health care provider tax by raising health care costs by $900 million per year.
“Worse, Democrats proposed nearly $12 billion of new spending and tax increases. This budget surplus is enough to fully repeal Democrats’ harmful health care tax hike and lower health care costs. With our budget reserve now fully funded and revenues continuing to grow, thanks to previous Republican-led tax cuts, we have an opportunity to further reduce costs for Minnesotans on several fronts by nearly a billion dollars.”
As of September, Minnesota Management & Budget indicated that the state needed just $259 million to fully fund the state's budget reserve. State law requires up to one-third of the surplus go to the budget reserve until it is fully funded.
Heading into the 2020 legislative session, the statutorily established budget reserve account will now be fully funded at more than $2.25 billion, the cash reserve account remains flush with more than $300 million. Hertaus indicated the surplus news, plus the cash in these other accounts, exceeds more than $3.5 billion and should eliminate any talk of tax hikes next year at the Capitol.
“Democrats spent last session pushing more spending proposals and advocating for $12 billion in new tax hikes that would cripple our economy and reverse the economic growth generated by tax cuts,” Hertaus said. “There is an old saying that ‘a rising tide lifts all ships’ and our state’s own economic consultants have said that tax cuts generate growth. Let’s listen to them, take tax hikes off the table, and look at giving as much of this surplus back to taxpayers, who earned these dollars in the first place. Placing this cash in the hands of consumers will strengthen families, grow our economy and produce even more tax revenues.”