Democrats agree to spend entire budget surplus

Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson said the budget target spends down funds planned to fully eliminate Social Security taxes.

Minnesota lawmakers agreed to spend an additional $17.9 billion on top of the base budget of $52.4 billion. (Office of Gov. Tim Walz/Flickr)

(The Center Square) — Minnesota lawmakers agreed to spend an additional $17.9 billion on top of the base budget of $52.4 billion, likely depleting the state’s current $17.2 billion surplus.

The target includes $3 billion in tax breaks but doesn’t specify how relief will be delivered.

Gov. Tim Walz, Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic, and House Speaker Melissa Hortman said they reached budget target numbers that include investments for kids and families, the largest tax cut in state history, and funding to improve health and safety.

“Whether it’s ensuring every kid can eat breakfast and lunch at school or passing $100 million in tax cuts, this has been the most productive legislative session in a generation — and we’re not letting our foot off the gas,” Walz said. “This agreement moves us closer to ending child poverty and putting the state surplus directly back into Minnesotans’ pockets. I’m grateful for the long hours and close collaboration of our legislative partners to put together this budget.”

The agreement, typically not reached until near the end of the legislative session, includes the following targets. Committee chairs will finalize budget details.

  • $3 billion in tax cuts
  • $2.3 billion for infrastructure projects
  • $2.2 billion for K-12 education and pre-kindergarten
  • $1.1 billion for children and families
  • $1 billion for housing
  • $100 million for broadband expansion
  • $255 million for energy and climate
  • $650 million for public safety

“Our budget agreement focuses on the issues Minnesotans across the state value and care about: investing in public education, making health care more affordable, and building an economy that works better for everyone,” House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said in a statement. “We also heard from voters that they were concerned about climate change, and this budget includes significant investment in climate action. Finally, we share the Governor’s commitment to make this the best state in the country to raise a child, and we’re working to dramatically reduce child poverty.”

The full agreement is here.

Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, said the budget target spends down funds planned to fully eliminate Social Security taxes.

“What we don’t see is how a full elimination of the Social Security tax cut is possible, meaning Democrats who campaigned on eliminating the tax are breaking their promises to Minnesotans,” Johnson said in a statement. “With more than $17 billion in surplus, the paltry amount of tax relief being offered leaves Minnesotans who are already struggling with rising costs behind.”

 

Scott McClallen
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.