Letter: $17.5 billion surplus gone in an instant

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After giving political control of our state to a single party, it is no surprise that the politicians are hard at work spending the roughly $17.5 billion surplus. Those are your tax dollars. You should be concerned.

Over the past year, more than 20 states used their surpluses to make meaningful tax reforms for their residents — some lowering their tax rates, some completely eliminating their income tax.

Neighbor South Dakota has no income tax. North Dakota, with five brackets from 1.1% to 2.9%, is considering a 1.5% income tax with a complete phaseout by 2028.  Last year Iowa cut their income tax by $1.9 billion and will have a flat 3.9% rate in 2026. 

Other states, like Minnesota is doing, spent their surplus. Last year California had a surplus of about $97 billion; this year California has a deficit estimated to be $25 billion. Is Minnesota headed in the same direction? 

While the politicians are spending the surplus on new programs, they are already discussing increasing taxes and fees. Funding the new programs with the existing surplus does not pay for those programs in future years.


Where is the Republican opposition? Where is the voter backlash? These are your tax dollars that were over-collected and are now being spent rather than returning your money to you.

Remember, like the "temporary" Rochester sales tax, once a funded program is in place it never goes away.

T. R. Schwalen, Rochester

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