Minnesotans are calling on Gov. Tim Walz and the Legislature to return the record-breaking $9.3 billion budget surplus to the people by permanently cutting taxes.
A crowd gathered inside the Minnesota Capitol rotunda Saturday for the “Give it Back Tax Rally.” The rally was hosted by the Center of the American Experiment and involved several speakers including multiple radio hosts and a former U.S. congressman.
“Twenty years ago, thousands of Minnesotans came to St. Paul to demand their money back and we hope to tap into that same energy to convince the governor and Legislature to give it back,” said John Hinderaker, president of Center of the American Experiment.
Give it Back Tax Rally
Jason Lewis, a former U.S. congressman and talk radio host, has led Minnesota tax rallies in the past. He said the $9.3 billion should be used for permanent tax cuts and not one-time $500 checks for individuals, a plan that Walz proposed last month.
“We need to make certain that that which is ours is returned to ours and that $9.3 billion doesn’t go back in ‘Walz checks’ one time, disproportionately, but we cut tax rates permanently so they never over collect us again,” Lewis said.
Lewis noted that within a decade Minnesota’s general fund went from $29 billion to $52 billion.
“It’s gone up 75% in a decade. Now how many people’s income has gone up 75% in a decade?” Lewis asked the crowd.
Scott Hennen, host of “What’s on Your Mind,” encouraged residents to ask questions and have conversations about the budget surplus with their friends and families.
“They’ve taxed us too much, that’s why. Have that dialogue. You’ll make a difference,” Hennen said. “When you tax and tax and tax and spend and spend and spend, Minnesota is not going anywhere. It’s not reaching its potential.”
Other speakers included radio hosts Dan “Ox” Ochsner and Jon Justice.
Ochsner pointed out that when tax rates are so high, people “stop producing” and then revenue actually decreases.
“So if you tax too much, guess what? You’ll get less money in the government, so nobody will win … people will stop producing,” he said.
“It’s flat-out wrong for the government to assume that just because they took more of my money, of your money, of our money, that they get to decide what to do with it,” Justice added. “Why do you think that you should be able to keep any cents of that money? What makes you think that you’re entitled to it?”
Barbra Severni, a resident of Fridley, was more blunt: “They’re stealing from us.”
“They’re stealing, especially for me being a senior citizen, being taxed on our social security, which is really unfair,” she told Alpha News.
Kevin Schleppenbach of Apple Valley also joined the rally Saturday. He found it a relief to be surrounded by people who agree with his ideas.
“It’s good for the soul to be with people that have the same ideas that you do so you don’t think, ‘Am I the only nut around here?'” he said.
American Experiment report key findings
American Experiment released a report on the state budget that serves as a guide to Minnesota legislators and Gov. Walz as they determine what to do with the $9.25 billion surplus.
The report notes that Minnesota is already spending at historically high levels.
“Minnesota’s state government spent $4,348.20 for every state resident, the highest amount on record and 5.9 percent higher than in 2016. Minnesota also has the sixth highest rate of state personal income tax in the United States,” it says.
In the report, key findings show that Minnesota’s lowest personal income tax rate is higher than the top rate of 24 states. Minnesota is also tied for the third-highest corporate income tax rate in the nation.
Walz is expected to lay out his vision for the budget surplus during his State of the State address on Sunday.