Activity in St. Paul continues to pick up as Governor Walz released details of his 2021-2022 budget proposal on Tuesday. The Governor’s proposal is the first official step in the budget making process. As a reminder, passing and signing a two-year state budget is something that the legislature and Governor must agree to before the end of the legislative session.
The Governor’s budget proposal is headlined by $1.7 billion in tax increases, major spending hikes, and almost no meaningful spending cuts. In fact, out of a massive $52.4 billion budget, Governor Walz is proposing just $150 million in budget reductions. That's not even a 0.3% reduction in spending — an outrageously small amount during a year where so many Minnesota families and businesses have seen their incomes fall off a cliff.
In addition to woefully inadequate levels of spending reductions, the Governor is seeking a 15% increase to Minnesota's business tax rate which would vault Minnesota to #2 in the entire nation. He is also proposing a 10% increase to the top tax bracket.
While the Governor insists that his proposal only taxes the wealthy, the reality is that he is also raising regressive taxes on cigarettes and vaping products which have been shown to impact low-income Minnesotans the most.
Out of the Governor's $1.7 billion in tax increases, $941 million are regressive taxes that will impact Minnesotans of every income level. Governor Walz’s own budget office revealed that business, sales, and tobacco tax increases disproportionately impact low-income Minnesotans when compared to wealthy taxpayers.
It should come as no surprise that I am opposed to the Governor’s proposal.
The economic and social damage caused by Governor Walz’s harmful shutdowns will take years to recover from. That’s why these proposed tax increases are the wrong approach to balancing the budget and will only extend the pain and slow Minnesota’s economic recovery.
I am committed to working on and passing a bipartisan budget that invests in the things that matter most to Minnesotans while ensuring that we reduce overall government spending and streamline state agencies and programs.
On Thursday, I was proud to join my seatmate, Rep. Ron Kresha, in supporting an amendment to a bill that would have allowed wedding venues to operate at full capacity.
It makes no sense for bars, restaurants, and other businesses to be open at 50% capacity or more while wedding venues continue to be severely restricted by Governor Walz.
While it is extremely frustrating for families to be unable to celebrate the marriage of a loved one, keeping weddings so tightly regulated has a trickle-down impact that causes economic harm for a whole host of businesses and individuals. Here’s a list of just a few of the entities that are impacted by these onerous restrictions:
I’m sure that I am missing a few, but you get the picture. These restrictions are causing significant harm to local economies. Governor Walz should let these events proceed as planned and let Minnesotans take reasonable steps to protect themselves.
Please continue to reach out to me to share your questions, thoughts, or concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4293 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend,