Saying that the key to growing Minnesota's economy is to "invest in the people who made it strong in the first place," Governor Tim Walz detailed a list of proposals that includes $700 million in direct payments to state residents.
In describing the payments, which the governor called "Walz Checks," the governor laid out the plan for direct payments which could reach up to $350. A married couple earning up to $273,470 per year would receive that top payment, while a single person making up to $164,400 would get a $175 check.
Speaking from Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan also referenced investments that would come from the state's projected $7.7 billion surplus.
WATCH BELOW: Gov. Tim Walz details proposed new budget package
The blueprint includes, among other things:
- Workforce development, with an emphasis on revitalizing those in the health care field
- Increasing educational opportunities by investing $10 million to expand career and technical education for underserved students and those in greater Minnesota
- Lowering costs for consumers, especially in the area of home energy bills, by pumping additional money into the Weatherization Assistance Program
- Cutting taxes for families and small businesses by making a one-time investment of $2.73 billion into the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which would prevent COVID-related tax hikes for business owners.
- Ensure broadband for every Minnesotan by investing $170 million to finish the job of installing border-to-border high-speed service.
- Support farmers and livestock producers by targeting $10 million to help those impacted by the drought of 2021.
"This plan builds our economy by putting people—our strongest asset—at the center of the blueprint. Right now, we have a remarkable opportunity to give money back to middle class Minnesotans, working families, and small businesses,” continued Gov. Walz. “In this budget, if you are a frontline worker with children, earning up to $70,000 per year, you will get about $2,000 back in your pocket.”
According to the budget package, this would including people working in health care, child care, schools, grocery stores, food service, transportation, long-term care, building service, public safety, retail and manufacturing.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen economic inequities exposed and exacerbated – for frontline workers, for young people, for immigrants and BIPOC communities, and for small, family-owned businesses. Our plan to expand economic opportunity will help ensure we are meeting the needs of all Minnesotans in a 21st century economy,” said Flanagan in a statement. “When we pursue strategic and equitable investments in our economic future, we aren’t just recovering from the pandemic – we’re coming back stronger than ever.”
In response to the proposed budget, David Hann, Chairman of the Minnesota GOP, released a statement criticizing the use of funds, adding that it will increase inflation.
“Gov. Walz’s latest budget proposal is further proof that he is completely out of touch with how overtaxed Minnesota’s families and businesses are," Hann's statement reads. "With a $7.7 billion surplus, Minnesotans need real tax relief – not another taxpayer-funded spending spree that will only serve to drive up inflation while families and businesses already suffer under record-breaking price increases.”
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