ST PAUL, Minnesota — Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan rolled out the last piece of their budget proposal Tuesday, calling for the largest tax cut in state history that includes sending out surplus checks to residents and legalizing adult-use cannabis.
It's the fourth and final installment of packages within the administration's larger "One Minnesota" two-year budget proposal.
The previous proposals included making the state "the best in the nation for children," focusing on Minnesota's workforce and investing in public safety across the state.
Gov. Walz recommends sending nearly $4 billion of the state's $17.6 billion surplus directly back to residents in the form of checks.
More than 2.5 million Minnesota households would get the checks.
"These direct payments would be structured as an advanced income tax credit equal to $2,000 for families with income below $150,000 and $1,000 for single filers making less than $75,000," according to the news release from the governor's office. Residents could also qualify for an additional $200 for each dependent, up to three children.
"For a middle-class family of four, the One Minnesota Budget could put $10,000 back in their pocket. We are delivering a transformational budget for Minnesotans, and I look forward to getting this done," said Gov. Walz in the release.
The governor also recommends spending $219 million to reduce taxes on Social Security benefits for over 350,000 households.
Included in his proposal, legalizing and regulating adult-use cannabis.
Under Gov. Walz's plan, an Office of Cannabis Management would oversee "the implementation of the regulatory framework for adult-use cannabis and hemp-derived products, along with the medical cannabis program."
David Hann, chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, accused Walz of wasting the state's multi-billion dollar surplus on "reckless spending and growing government."
"The governor’s proposal to create an entirely new state agency doesn’t even address the massive fraud in his Department of Education or the declining literacy rates and achievement gaps plaguing Minnesota’s children under Walz’s failing agenda," Hann continued in a statement. "At the same time, Walz and the Democrats continue to push tax increases on small businesses and fight against tax relief for seniors’ Social Security benefits."
Gov. Walz also proposed increased funding for the state's two public higher education systems, Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota, and for the state's tribal colleges.
Another $29.2 million in the budget would be earmarked to buy up to 30 electric buses.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Johnson and House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth released the following statement on the Governor’s proposal:
We have a historic $17.6 billion surplus and Gov. Walz wants to increase state spending by 25% and raise taxes on hardworking Minnesotans. If we can’t pass permanent tax relief for hard-working Minnesotans with a historic surplus now, when can we?
This extremely expensive budget includes new taxes on employees and new mandates on business, massive bureaucracies with hundreds of state employees, and inflates education spending without accountability to parents or student achievement.
This budget is too extreme for Minnesota. While the Governor wants us to focus on the freebies he provides, there is a real and tangible cost to our state and the taxpayers. It will be our job in the coming months to expose these controversial spending and divisive policies, so Minnesotans know what they are really getting with this “One ‘Extreme’ Minnesota” budget.
To read more about the facets of Walz and Flanagan's budget proposal, click here.