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Walz’s budget needs more planning

Gov. Tim Walz has announced his budget plan for the coming biennium, a $52.4 billion budget that would raise the income tax on wealthiest Minnesotans, lower the income tax for low earners, and slap another $1 tax on cigarettes and snuff. He would create a new tax bracket for those in the top 0.7% of earners, while letting those in the second tax bracket drop back into the first, which would lower their taxes.

Walz would raise spending, especially for schools. He proposes $745 million in new spending for primary schools, to help them bounce back from the pandemic and help students catch up during the summer on the learning opportunities they lost.

As you might expect, the the reception from Republicans in the Legislature, especially in the Republican-controlled Senate, was less than warm. Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka thinks there should be more emphasis on spending cuts and spending some of the state’s reserve funds. He’d like to see state policies that allow schools and businesses to reopen, rather than spending more state dollars on aid while they are closed.

We tend to agree with the Republicans at this point, but there is a long way to go before the session takes action on a finalized budget bill. The governor’s budget proposal is the first step. The House and Senate will come up with their plans. The state will have a major economic forecast in February that will give us all a better idea of the state’s financial condition. All that will be a factor in what plays out in the weeks and months ahead.

There’s plenty of time for more planning on the budget plan.

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