Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday, Jan. 26, laid out his $52.4-billion proposal for Minnesota's two-year budget complete with additional funding for Minnesota schools and families bearing the brunt of the impact of the pandemic. The plan also includes a tax hike on households that make more than $1 million and on big corporations to offset new spending and a projected $1.3 billion hole.
Area legislators release statements in response to the proposal:
Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester)
“The governor and I likely share many of the same goals, like closing the budget gap, reviving our economic engines, and ensuring a great education for every student. But the governor’s $1.6 Billion in tax increases misses the mark. The federal government has already sent billions of dollars to Minnesota for Covid response and recovery. Instead of increasing taxes, we must look to responsible effective spending to protect critical services like roads, bridges, high-quality education, patient-centered healthcare. I look forward to working with the governor to reach our shared objectives without increasing tax burdens on hard-working pandemic stressed Minnesotans.”
Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester)
“Governor Walz has presented his new two year budget for the 2021-2022 legislative cycle. As in previous budget proposals, Governor Walz is proposing an increase in taxes and fees.
With the economic challenges presented by COVID-19, I do not believe we should further burden Minnesota taxpayers with additional costs at this very difficult time. Rather we should be thinking about lifting the burden by looking for reforms and reducing the cost of government. We cannot tax and spend our way to prosperity, but can find it only by carefully assessing our needs and prioritizing our spending in a results-orientated fashion.”
Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL–Rochester)
“The governor’s budget proposal is a starting point for lawmakers to consider. I am pleased that the governor is focused on fairness and on helping Minnesotans build back from the historic challenges of the pandemic. We must invest in the urgent health care, education, and economic opportunity needs of our communities. I look forward to working with the governor and his staff to help Minnesota emerge from this crisis a better and stronger state.”
Rep. Liz Boldon (DFL–Rochester)
"With this budget we can create the Minnesota in which we all want to live. Many of our neighbors and favorite local businesses have been devasted by COVID-19, and this is our opportunity to ensure they can recover and thrive. As a state, we have the resources to support everyone, as long as the most wealthy pay their fair share. This budget is a strong start to this conversation, and I look forward to refining it as we move forward to ensure our everyone in our community will benefit."
Rep. Barb Haley (R-Red Wing)
"The budget proposal put forward today by the governor was disappointing. At a time when so many Minnesota families and businesses are struggling to make it through the pandemic and shutdowns, raising taxes, unnecessarily, on job creators is not the way to close our budget deficit. Instead, we should be looking at closing our budget deficit by using our budget reserves and spending cuts — state government must engage in the belt-tightening every Minnesota business and family has done over the past year.
"Fortunately, we have a divided state government in Minnesota and the final two-year budget will be a bipartisan compromise. I look forward to working to find that compromise during this legislative session."