To the Editor,

Last week, Senate Democrats brought forward a divisive Bonding Bill that funds Democrats’ pet projects by putting $2 billion on the state’s credit card. Folks, we have a historic $17.5 billion surplus. For some reason, Senate Democrats are unwilling to discuss meaningful tax relief or the full elimination of the tax on social security, but they sure are willing to borrow billions to fund their priorities. Luckily, a bonding bill requires a 3/5 majority to pass, and Senate Democrats were unable to get even one Republican on board with their plan. 

Senate Republicans have been saying this since the start of session: we are not opposed to the discussion of a bonding bill, but tax relief needs to come first. Unfortunately, we have been in Session for over 2 months and have no meaningful tax relief to show for it. But we sure do have a lot of spending bills that have been floating around. Democrats also promised to revisit the discussion surrounding the social security tax elimination, yet they’ve voted against hearing that bill multiple times. 

We’re at a point where it seems Democrats have no real intention of the people of Minnesota. Tax relief is the number one topic I hear about, and I know the Democrats are hearing about it too, because they promised it would be a priority this year. So far, that’s a promise they refuse to deliver on. Even worse, Democrats have continued to march forward with an unwillingness to work with Republicans in any way—it’s evident in the way they handle every bill, including the bonding bill. As long as they keep doing so, they’re essentially hitting “mute” on half the state, therefore silencing greater Minnesota.  

On the topic of tax relief, I want folks to know Senate Republicans haven’t given up. We have continued to bring forward the elimination of the tax on social security, because that is what Minnesotans want. Democrats have consistently argued that the bill needs to “go through the process,” despite having bipartisan and bicameral support. Yet when Democrats have a priority they want to push through, suddenly the “process” is out the window and rules don’t apply—we’ve seen that with a number of bills they’ve brought to the floor. It’s frustrating for us as legislators who are here to support our constituents, and it must be just as frustrating to those in greater Minnesota who feel their needs are being ignored. 

Before bringing up the bonding bill, Democrats made an attempt to bring forward a bill eliminating the tax on social security, but still refused to give it a vote… They simply moved it to “general orders” as a political ploy with no intent on giving the bill a vote. We asked for a vote on the bill, and again, they voted against our efforts and refused to engage. 

I’m disappointed in the negative turn this session has taken, and the bonding bill’s path is just another example of how divisive things have gotten. We could have provided tax relief and a bonding bill, and we could have done some great work that every single person in the state would have benefited from. Instead, Democrats continue to play political games and ignore the pleas of Minnesotans. I’m disappointed, but not surprised. This is not the way democracy is supposed to work. 

Senator Paul Utke,

Park Rapids, Minn.