Outstate Minnesota should weigh ‘benefits’

In the wake of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s two-year budget proposal that includes billions in new taxes, Republican leaders in the state Senate say Walz has gone too far and should not expect their support. That’s good news for hard-working Minnesotans. Taxes in Minnesota are already too high.

However, Republicans say they are willing to work with Walz, something that should be fairly easy, given an expected state budget surplus of $1.5 billion. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has a straightforward, common-sense message when it comes to drafting a new budget: “Let’s live within the resources we have.”

And those are substantial, it should be noted. Minnesota already spends $47.5 billion every two years. Walz wants to spend $49.5 billion. Again, that’s just too much.

It has been noted that Walz’s budget includes much for outstate Minnesota. That’s good news, in the sense that the governor isn’t forgetting about his roots or about those of us living outside the metro area. But his planned hikes in some spending areas still deserve scrutiny.

For example: He proposes boosting the state’s per-pupil aid formula to public schools by 5 percent. But what will taxpayers get for the added expense? Specifically. More spending does not necessarily translate into better education. It might just mean more expensive education.

The same goes for state aid to cities, something Walz wants to increase. Allegedly, the new state aid will help hold down property taxes. Then again, it might just be spent on new projects requiring ongoing funding. This too would not be a good deal for taxpayers, locally or at the state level.