The 2019 legislative session is rapidly drawing to a close as the House and Senate have both passed their remaining omnibus finance bills during the first week of May. Omnibus finance bills are the large, end-of-session bills that contain spending and policy provisions that constitute the state budget.
As you can probably imagine, with a Democrat majority in the House and a Republican majority in the Senate, the two chambers' approaches to the state budget are dissimilar.
The Senate has put forward a budget that makes important investments in the things that matter most to Minnesotans without raising taxes. They also do a good job slowing down the growth of government.
Conversely, the Democrat majority in the House has put forward a budget with misplaced priorities that includes raising taxes on Minnesotans by more than $12 billion over the next four years.
You read that correctly, the House Democrat budget that was voted on and passed last week raises taxes on Minnesotans by more than $12 billion over the next four years.
Keep in mind, these proposed tax increases are coming at a time when the state has a $1 billion budget surplus.
The proposed taxes include transportation-related taxes such as a 70% increase in the gas tax and increases in the vehicle registration tax, the metro sales tax, and the new vehicle sales.
Also included is a $2.5 billion provider tax that is levied on most patient services in Minnesota, including things like baby deliveries, chemotherapy treatments, routine doctor visits, emergency room visits, and more.
Another tax increase of note is a brand new payroll tax that will take billions out of the paychecks of each and every individual that is earning a wage in Minnesota.
Governor Walz's administration has admitted that the Democrat tax proposals will negatively impact middle and low-income Minnesotans the most. In fact, a report by the administration's own Department of Revenue found that Minnesotans making less than $45,000 per year would experience a double-digit percent increase in their tax burden and Minnesotans of every income level would see their taxes go up.
Additionally, the administration found that the tax changes would make Minnesota's tax code more regressive by increasing the tax burden of low and middle-income Minnesotans significantly more than those with higher incomes.
Governor Walz likes to talk a lot about his vision for One Minnesota. However, it's clear that Democrats' budget proposal would make the state One "Expensive" Minnesota.
In addition to the tax increases, there are other questionable policy and spending provisions in the House Democrat budget. One specific policy provision that was included in the Education finance bill would mandate public schools to teach sexual education backed and drafted by Planned Parenthood. Numerous parents from the area have contacted my office to share their concerns with that provision.
Thankfully, we have a Republican majority in the Senate and I am hopeful that they will be able to play "defense" on a number of these extreme tax increases and policy provisions.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my office to share your thoughts and concerns regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend,