To the Editor,

Minnesota has a massive state government surplus of approximately $10 billion and our state’s citizens are among the nation’s highest taxed at a time we’re all looking for some relief.

People are paying increased costs at the gas pump, at the grocery store, on their energy bills and pretty much everywhere else these days with prices soaring. Many Minnesotans also are working hard to recover from losing income during the pandemic when restrictions and all-out shutdowns impacted workers.

This is just part of why it is so important to deliver the most tax relief possible from the state’s surplus. Republicans in the Legislature propose providing immediate and permanent tax relief to help ease the burden. Meanwhile, House Democrats and the governor are seeking more short-term gimmicks along with significant government expansion.

Negotiations the rest of this legislative session will center on resolving the differences between proposals from the respective majorities and what the governor is requesting.

The Senate Republican proposal would provide more than $8.43 billion in tax relief over the next three years, which would be the biggest tax cut in Minnesota history. This includes eliminating the Social Security income tax. The average relief would be $1,313 for the 410,900 Minnesotans who pay this tax. Senate Republicans also propose providing a rate cut on income taxes, which would improve Minnesota’s ranking as the ninth-highest state and local individual income tax collections per capita. The average tax relief per filer would be $759, with a family making $100,000 per year receiving a tax break of $1066 every year.

These proposals represent meaningful, overarching tax reductions that would benefit all Minnesotans year after year.

House Democrats are taking a different approach by proposing to spend more on various forms of aid and picking winners and losers by isolating certain groups of people. For example, their proposal only includes a partial Social Security tax reduction instead of the full repeal Republicans in the House and Senate support. And, interestingly, House Democrats did not include the governor’s checks in their plan.

Our mission in the Legislature this session should be to do all we can to help Minnesotans get back on their feet after what was, for many, an extremely challenging last two years. The state has a substantial surplus that should be used for tax relief.

While we’re at it, we should fix the tax increase House Democrats allowed to take place on employers last month despite the state’s vast overabundance of revenue. The governor, House Republicans, Senate Republicans, and most Senate Democrats have supported passing a clean bill to fully replenish our state’s depleted unemployment insurance funds. The Senate approved by a veto-proof majority legislation to resolve this issue a month and a half ago, but House Democrats have refused to take that bill up for a vote. Now, the deadline has passed, and employers are suffering a needless tax increase.

The state is collecting more money than it needs while the rest of us are making do with less in this economy. The clock is ticking on this legislative session. We have until our adjournment in late May to do the right thing by delivering the permanent, meaningful tax relief people in this state deserve. Anything less given the historic opportunity before us should be unacceptable to Minnesotans.

Rep. Jordan Rasmusson,

Fergus Falls