Democrats trim rebate checks down to $260 per filer

The governor vowed on the campaign trail to "push" for $2,000 checks.

Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis) and Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) speak at a press conference Thursday. (Minnesota Senate Media Services/YouTube)

Minnesotans will be getting a smaller chunk of the state’s $17.5 billion budget surplus than initially promised by Gov. Tim Walz.

Walz previously proposed sending $2,000 to joint filers and $1,000 to single filers, with income limits. The governor vowed on the campaign trail to “push” for $2,000 checks. At that time, the projected surplus was much lower. Under the latest proposal, the maximum rebate is $1,300.

In April, Democrats scaled their proposal down to $550 for joint filers with income below $150,000 and $275 for single filers with income below $75,000, plus $275 for up to three dependents.

According to a conference committee agreement released Wednesday, the proposed rebate has been trimmed down to $260 for single filers and $520 for joint filers, plus $260 for up to three children. The maximum rebate is set at $1,300 per family.

Democratic leaders indicated during a press conference Thursday that the rebate will come with the same income limits. About 2.5 million Minnesotans will qualify for the rebates.

Their tax proposal also includes a child tax credit targeted toward low-income parents and a Social Security tax exemption for those who make $100,000 or less, not the full repeal some Democrats campaigned on.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, implied that some form of a gas tax increase and delivery fee will be included in the transportation conference committee report.

Democrats could have a tough time getting the gas tax increase through the Senate, where they have just a one-seat advantage. Sen. Judy Seeberger, DFL-Afton, made it clear on the campaign trail that she does not support a gas tax increase.

Senate Republicans held a press conference Thursday where they said the DFL’s budget bills will add up to between $9 million and $10 million in new tax and fee increases.

Hortman objected to this claim, calling it “shifty math.” She also suggested during Wednesday’s press conference that she may begin using a procedure known as “calling the question,” which ends the debate on a given bill. She said this may be necessary because Republicans are dragging out debate.

Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, and House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, responded in a joint statement, saying:

“Democrats laid out an ambitious agenda in January and assured voters they would not only finish on time, but that they would try to finish early. It is up to the Majority to manage the clock and give themselves and the Minority enough time to allow thorough debate on billions of dollars of tax increases and major policy changes that impact the lives of all Minnesotans.   
 Like the public, Republicans have been shut out of most conversations. The public expects the elected leaders to fully consider the impact of legislation and to work across the aisle to do what’s best for Minnesotans. That unfortunately has not happened this session. The Democrat agenda is fundamentally transforming many key areas of our state, and they shouldn’t ram the votes through in the dark of night while shutting down any questions. Minnesotans deserve better than a partisan agenda that leaves their wallets empty, their communities less safe, and their kids’ schools without the resources they need in the classroom.” 

Both the House and Senate still need to approve the tax agreement. Legislators have until midnight Monday to finish their work.

 

Anthony Gockowski
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Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.