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Douglas County state legislators want to use massive $17.6 billion surplus for tax relief

“There can be no excuses,” said Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, in a statement. “Now is the time for permanent tax cuts."

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ST. PAUL — Legislators representing parts of Douglas County were united in their reaction to Minnesota’s record-setting $17.6 billion budget surplus announced Tuesday, Dec. 6.

They want to provide tax relief.

“There can be no excuses,” said Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, in a statement. “Now is the time for permanent tax cuts. Democrats are focused on expanding government programs and systems, but the real focus needs to be on families. A $17.6 billion dollar surplus shows we are overtaxed. It’s time for Minnesota to go on a taxation diet to support family budgets and make our state more affordable for all Minnesotans.”

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Rep. Mary Franson

“Minnesotans are overtaxed,” said Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Alexandria, in a statement. “This mind bogglingly massive surplus reflects the government taking way too much from hardworking taxpayers. This next legislative session Republicans will be focused on trying to reduce taxes and give Minnesotans their money back.”

Westrom added that he will continue his goals of eliminating the tax on Social Security income, reducing property taxes and providing other meaningful long-term tax relief to hard-working Minnesotans.

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Torrey Westrom
Torrey Westrom

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the Legislature should think big and look at an elimination or massive reduction of the statewide property tax, income tax or sales tax,” Westrom said.

“The state continues to massively over-collect taxes from Minnesotans at a time historic inflation is placing a painful burden on families and businesses in our state,” said Rep. Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls, in a statement. “This is yet another clear indication meaningful tax relief should be a top priority for the 2023 legislative session. While there are select spending priorities to consider, such as law enforcement and long-term care, it would be highly irresponsible for legislators to view this vast surplus as a license to exponentially increase government spending in perpetuity.”

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Jordan Rasmusson

Rasmusson added that at the very least, the news about the surplus should put to rest any talk of tax increases as legislators work to craft a new state budget during the upcoming session.

Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz said the surplus is proof that Minnesota’s economy is strong and growing.

“One thing is clear: This surplus is a result of the students, small businesses and working families whose hard work and creativity make our economy one of the most resilient and diverse in the country,” Walz said in a statement. “The case for sending money back to Minnesotans to help with rising costs has never been stronger. Together, we have a golden opportunity to do that while also investing in our workforce, our schools, and our kids – all while lowering costs for our middle-class families, small businesses and seniors.”

Gov. Tim Walz
Gov. Tim Walz

The state’s general fund budget surplus of $17.6 billion is now projected for the fiscal year 2024-25 biennium. More information is available through Minnesota Management and Budget, https://mn.gov/mmb/

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