From: Rep. Steve Drazkowski
R - Mazeppa
With a $1.2 billion surplus projected for the remainder of the 2014-15 biennium, the Minnesota Legislature must approve a supplemental budget plan that actually does something with the excess revenue.
My preference would be to give the money back to the hardworking taxpayers who created the surplus in the first place, but Democrats are going in a different direction.
House Democrats unveiled their plans recently. Not surprisingly, they still want to use $550 million of the windfall to repeal three business-to-business taxes they enacted into law last year and provide some federal tax conformity to Minnesota’s income tax filers. This bill sailed off the House floor on a 126-2 vote recently, so we knew it would be part of their supplemental budget.
What we didn’t know is that House Democrats also want to increase state spending by another half billion dollars.
Under their proposal, $510 million would be used for their second spending spree in two years! $172 million would be dedicated for capital investment proposals, $92 million more on K-12 Education, $75 million more for Health and Human Services, and $50 million for yet-to-be determined “transportation funding” (look for more trains at the expense of rural Minnesota taxpayers).
$195 million of the $1.2 billion surplus would remain unspent, kept by a bloated government for unknown future spending by the legislature and the governor. This is very problematic, realizing that our budget reserves are full, compliments of Republican government reforms and spending restraint in the previous biennium. Why won’t they give it back to the people from whom it was taken?
At some point, Democrats need to walk away from the buffet line and realize they’ve had enough to eat. Their government spending excesses are paid for at the expense of hardworking Minnesotans.
Last session, they raised spending on state government programs by $3 billion. Now they’re treating this latest surplus – your money - as found money and are ready to spend another half billion dollars.
You cannot spend your way to economic prosperity. At $38 billion, I had hoped the Democrats had satisfied their appetite to increase the size and cost of state government last year, but clearly they have not.
It’s worth noting that if Republicans were in charge, we would not have to repeal any tax increases this year because we would not have proposed them in the first place. We would recognize that this surplus exists because Minnesotans paid too much in state taxes, and we would be finding ways to return your money to you, not looking for more ways to spend it.