***Pam Altendorf represents District 20A in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
We received an updated state economic forecast this week, and it shows a $17.5 billion surplus for the new biennium. That’s similar to the figure projected in the last forecast, issued in early December, with one caveat: The new forecast factored for inflation for the first time in decades, resulting in a downward departure of around $1.5 billion.
The surplus would be more like $19 billion using the November metrics for an apples-to-apples comparison.
We are now in the 11th week of legislative activity this session without major tax relief for Minnesotans but spending and divisive policies are moving quickly through the legislature to reach the governor’s desk. Republican legislators are rolling out our own tax plan because we know it’s never too early to give the money back, and we have plans to do so. (More on that in a moment.)
The new $17.5 billion surplus figure will serve as the official framework as the Legislature works to establish a new two-year state budget this session before adjourning in late May.
‘Give It Back’
House and Senate Republicans followed the forecast news by recently unveiling our “Give It Back” tax plan, which provides $13 billion over two years in permanent tax cuts and one-time rebates.
The package features tax relief benefiting Minnesotans both now and in the long-term, such as:
Lower first and second tier rates.
Full elimination of Social Security tax.
$1,800 tax credit per child.
Property tax relief.
$5 billion in rebates.
The House majority may not be treating tax relief as a priority, but to hardworking Minnesotans, it is. Our state government is swimming in cash at a time when Minnesotans are struggling to afford their lives.
With a $17.5 billion surplus, if we can’t give tax relief to Minnesotans now, when can we?
This is the perfect opportunity to give bipartisan tax relief and put more money back into Minnesotans’ pockets. There is no excuse not to get this done.
Reading reset plan
It has been very frustrating for me, 11 weeks into this legislative session, being on the Education Finance Committee and we have yet to see any type of literacy or school education plan presented.
The facts show that only 50% of Minnesota’s students are reading proficiently at their grade level. Since reading is the foundation to all learning, Minnesota students are struggling, and that is why Republicans held a press conference to announce our “Reading Reset” plan to take on our state’s literacy problems.
The plan would establish a special revenue fund, similar to a disaster relief fund, from which schools can apply to cover costs related to aligning their curriculum and instructional practices to the tried and proven literacy program called, “Science of Reading.”
Reading RESET has three primary components: funding for schools that would like to replace the ineffective literacy materials they are currently using and purchase proven Science of Reading curriculum and instructional materials and books; funding for teacher training and professional development in the Science of Reading and funding for tutoring to help struggling students who have fallen behind in reading.
We owe it to our children to prioritize this literacy crisis and do everything we can to help them achieve success in the classroom!
Social Security income tax
Politicians from both parties, ran on a campaign promise this year to eliminate the Minnesota Social Security tax. Minnesota is only 1 of 11 states who essentially double tax our senior citizens by charging this tax. The Republican Party has twice brought the bill to exempt Social Security tax to the House floor in an emergency type fashion.
Being in the minority, this is a political tactic to try to escalate an issue that is not being heard in the typical fashion through the committee process.
However, both times the Democrats have voted unanimously against removing this tax, voted against their campaign promises and voted against our frustrated Senior Citizens.
Spring is in the air. Enjoy the longer days and warmer weather. Please follow me on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to keep up with all the happenings in the Minnesota Legislature.
Many thanks to Pam for the work the work she is doing and these communication efforts! I’m glad to see benefit in my vote for her. Keep up the good work!
Not only is the State after Social Security dollars to tax so are the Feds. I get SSDI, Last year the Feds counted $5748 as taxable income, this they increased it a %100 and took $11266 as taxable income. There was no conversation about this end run around, now I don't get much on SSDI, a little over 19K a year and my wife works a $16 an hour job with 2 dependents at home, how much more is got as we have now going
G to squeeze from the little people??? It's time to hold our elected officials accountable. That's mt 2 cents worth while I still have it.
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