Republicans in the state House and Senate are calling for tax relief to be the focus of the next legislative session after the Minnesota Office of Management and Budget reported this week it’s forecasting the state may have a $2.4 billion surplus heading into 2024.
“Democrats just passed the biggest budget ever with $10 billion in tax increases, and we are still over collecting from Minnesotans,” said Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks. “While it’s not surprising Democrats are talking about spending all this money, it’s a complete disservice to the taxpayers struggling to make ends meet. They deserve permanent tax relief this upcoming session, not another runaway train of spending.”
On Monday, the MMB said that fiscal year 2022-23 ended with a balance $820 million (or nearly 50 percent) higher than had been estimated at the end of the 2023 legislative session.
“Final revenue for the biennium, including taxes, other revenue, and accounting adjustments from prior fiscal years, closed $739 million (1.2 percent) higher than estimates,” a press release summarizing the report stated. “General fund spending for the closed biennium, after accounting adjustments, was $81 million (0.2 percent) lower than prior estimates. The difference between the estimated and actual ending balance, $820 million, will be added to the projected surplus for the FY 2024-25 biennium, which was estimated to be $1.583 billion when enacted in May.”
House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, echoed the sentiments of her Senate Republican counterpart that she wants to see that surplus given back to taxpayers.
“This last session, Democrats blew through the record $17.5 billion surplus, increasing the state budget by 40 percent while failing to deliver on their campaign promises like fully eliminating the tax on Social Security and $2,000 rebate checks,” Demuth said. “Given this last year’s irresponsible spending spree, tax relief should be the only option on the table for any additional surplus.”
The 2024 legislative session won’t begin until Feb. 12, and it’s considered a bonding year. But legislators are also expected to tackle a supplemental budget bill. It follows a 2023 budget year session where the DFL “trifecta” utilized a historic $17.5 billion surplus to pass a sweeping list of legislation that Gov. Tim Walz signed into law. While Democrats hold the executive branch and have a six-seat majority in the House, they hold just a one-seat majority in the Senate.
Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.