Walz Announces 2-Year Budget Proposal Including Tax Hikes for Top-earners in Minnesota
“Not all Minnesotans have been affected equally by the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit our working families, small businesses and students in particular. They need help. our help, ”Walz added. “The budget I am unveiling today will make significant progress in helping these Minnesotans stay afloat.”
The Democratic governor’s budget proposal includes new spending of $ 745 million for education through grade 12, in addition to recent federal assistance of $ 649 million to help schools recover from the pandemic . Walz also proposes to spend $ 50 million for a new small business forgivable loan program to help hardest-hit businesses maintain operations and exit the pandemic, and wants to expand the family tax credit. at work to more than 300,000 eligible households. In addition, he recommends a one-time payment of up to $ 750 to about 32,400 working poor families who participate in the Minnesota Family Investment Program.
Walz’s plan sets up what will likely be a heated debate between Democrats and Republicans in the divided legislature. While Walz said he was open to compromise, he noted that there were things he was not ready to budge on and added that things like relief for small businesses were needed quickly.
The governor also noted that the plan had been developed without any dependence on another possible Congressional stimulus package, but said he planned to adjust his proposal if a federal stimulus was passed, as he will do after the The state will have released its updated budget forecast next month.
“It’s a starting point,” Walz said of the plan.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) made the following statement:
“I have been clear from day one of the session: we are not balancing the budget with tax increases. A budget that increases taxes is not a priority for Minnesota.
“People have suffered enough already. Employees, contractors and many businesses sacrificed themselves for 11 months. The budget reserve can be used to protect people from damaging tax increases that will further stretch their family budgets and hurt their families. our economy. Senate Republicans will ask the government to tighten their belts before asking the Minnesotans to tighten their belts even more. “
Minority parliamentary leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) made the following statement regarding Walz’s proposal:
“We have to get out of this recession through growth; unfortunately, this budget would devastate job growth and hamper our economic recovery by taking money out of the economy to protect government budgets. Placing Minnesota in the top 3 for income and business tax rates without asking the government to share the sacrifice would be a disaster but luckily has no chance of becoming law this year.
“The people of Minnesota should know the Republicans have their backs – we are going to ask the state government to tighten its belt, do more with less, and balance our budget without a tax hike that would hurt our recovery economic.”
House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) released the following statements:
The people of Minnesota expect the state budget to help them overcome this pandemic and thrive once it ends. Governor Walz’s budget reflects the values of Minnesotans and incorporates the reality that COVID- 19 has hit some people and businesses harder than others, ”said Hortman. “Minnesota is a state of plenty – we have abundant natural resources, thriving corporations and nonprofits, a talented population, and higher per capita income than most states. We can and should use the budget to invest in Minnesota and the Minnesotans to ensure economic opportunity for everyone The House looks forward to working with the Governor and the Minnesota Senate during the session to produce a budget that meets the needs of Minnesotans. I congratulate the governor on a budget that goes in a bold and progressive direction.
“The majority of the Minnesota House DFL has started discussing our budget priorities in committee, with House budget targets likely by March 22 and our full budget proposal by April 9. We invite the Minnesotans to engage in conversation with us by communicating with members and participating in our committee hearings and town halls to influence our budget proposals as we work to develop a budget that reflects their values and meets their needs.
“We look forward to receiving the next February Budget Estimates as another key part of setting the stage for this year’s budget debate at the State Capitol.”
“Standing up for the workers and families in Minnesota hardest hit by the pandemic must be the top priority of the legislature right now,” Winkler said. “COVID-19 has further divided Minnesota by income and race, and we cannot just revert to the pre-pandemic status quo of the haves and have-nots. A state government that serves the rich and the well-connected does not people work. “
DFL Senate Leader Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) made the following statement:
“The past year presented us with challenges that we haven’t seen in recent history. It also amplified the inequalities that already existed in our communities as we saw how this pandemic affected us differently,” Kent said. . “The Governor’s Budget addresses the areas that need most support right now as we work to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic – supporting our working families, providing relief to our small businesses and supporting our students. I am especially grateful that Governor Walz has put educational equity at the center of this discussion, as we owe it to every child in Minnesota to ensure that they all have educational opportunities to thrive. , without prejudice.”
“Republican efforts to force their way through this challenge are shortsighted. The governor’s more balanced approach – modest strategic cuts, asking the richest and most profitable Minnesotans to pay their fair share, and to train those who will make our state prosper as we move forward – will ensure that Minnesota is best positioned for a strong future for all, ”Kent added.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Click on the video box below to watch Tuesday’s full press conference.