ST PAUL, Minn. — As Governor Tim Walz signs off on bills passed in the 2023 legislative session, including what Democrats call the "largest tax cut in state history," Republicans are calling them out, saying they raised taxes in several areas.
"We've got the nearly $19 billion surplus, so Minnesotans were really looking to have some of that money returned to them," said Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks). "You would never expect to have tax increases."
"All of our prices and our taxes are going to go up," said House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth (R-Cold Spring). "We've got delivery fee taxes that are coming up, the metro area sales tax is increasing, the paid family leave for all employers and employees. We're going to see that hit further down the road so there's a lot of things that are increasing.
"We know our seniors wanted the tax on Social Security to end. Those things aren't happening and so we get to be the ones that deliver that news."
There is some nuance in Demuth's claims, as the new tax bill offers "targeted tax relief," according to Mark Haveman, executive director of the non-partisan nonprofit Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence. "On the income tax provisions, the clear winners are low-income households and seniors."
The provision also includes a Social Security tax exemption for seniors who make up to $100,000 as a couple, or $78,000 as a single filer.
Demuth also pointed to what she said are broken campaign promises over using the surplus on rebate checks.
"We heard Gov. Walz say everybody's going to get $2,000, and then $1,000 back," she said. "Well, Minnesotans, some of you. Not all taxpayers, but some of you, are maybe going to get $200."
The rebate checks included in the tax bill include $260 for individuals making up to $75,000, and $520 for couples making up to $150,000. Households with dependents will receive an additional $260 for each dependent up to three dependents.
But, Demuth did concede there was some good news to come out of this year's session, like securing nursing home funding, which she says was a priority in greater Minnesota.
In a statement sent to KARE 11 Wednesday, the Republican Party of Minnesota said, in part:
Despite their promises of ‘One Minnesota’ and the razor-thin margins in the legislature, the Democrats brought our state nothing but extreme partisanship and lies. We Republicans look forward to holding the Democrats accountable at the polls in 2024 and beyond.”
– Republican Party of Minnesota Executive Director Mike Lonergan
Republican U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer (MN-06), Brad Finstad (MN-01), Michelle Fischbach (MN-07) and Pete Stauber (MN-08) also issued a joint statement Wednesday, saying in part:
“In just five months, the unchecked Democrat Party has wreaked unprecedented havoc on Minnesotans and our future. For weeks, fellow Members of Congress from across the country have been asking us what is wrong with the lawmakers in St. Paul. Like us, they are shocked at how the Democrat-controlled legislature in a few short months recklessly blew an $18 billion surplus on a partisan, special-interest spending spree."