The last session of the legislature began with a $2.2 billion surplus, sufficient income to make critical investments in education, health care, transportation and the environment. However, many DFL lawmakers wanted to increase income taxes on hard-working families and small businesses, and dramatically increase state spending.
Thanks to Governor Pawlenty and House Republicans, the budget was balanced without raising taxes. Given the growth in our Minnesota economy, and the corresponding increase in tax revenues resulting from this growth, tax increases are not necessary to balance the state budget. Government must learn to live within its means just like families in Goodhue, Wabasha and Winona counties do every day.
Double digit increases in property taxes are severely impacting homeowners, senior citizens and farmers. Rep. Steve Sviggum proposed a sensible property tax rebate program last year which would have used some of the $2.2 billion surplus to provide an immediate 10 percent rebate while significant property tax reform measures were debated. Unfortunately, his plan was not passed and the problem has worsened. Recent revenue forecasts indicate another surplus may be accruing which provides an opportunity for property tax rebates similar to the Sviggum proposal when the legislature convenes next February.