Massive surplus not enough for Gov. Walz
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s catchphrase is “One Minnesota.” We found out what it means Tuesday when he released his first two-year budget.
If the state’s residents were to ask the new Democratic governor how many of their hard-earned dollars they get to keep, rather than send to St. Paul, his reply would be, “One, Minnesota.”
Walz has proposed raising state spending to $50 billion, an 8 percent increase. He plans to pay for it by raising taxes, including a 20-cent hike in the gas tax and a $1.4 billion “sick tax” on patients seeking medical care. Motor vehicle sales taxes and license tab fees also would rise.
All of this comes while the state is enjoying a $1.5 billion budget surplus. Which means Walz is not satisfied with the prospect of spending that money. He is demanding more.
Perhaps Minnesota Chamber of Commerce president Doug Loon said it best when confronted with Walz’s proposal on Tuesday.
“We share the goal of investing in the state’s future for workforce, infrastructure and quality of life for Minnesota families,” he said. “But the pathway toward economic prosperity isn’t through increased spending and higher taxes, especially at a time of surplus. Instead of growing government, we should be handing private-sector innovators the tools to fuel future growth and not make it more costly to do business in Minnesota.”
For Walz to get what he wants, he needs the support of the Legislature. His party controls the House, but not the Senate. Senate Republicans must take their responsibility to the state’s taxpayers seriously and let the governor know his proposal is a non-starter. There is no reason the two sides cannot work together to prioritize state spending. But it spends enough already. And taxes are already too high.