With just days remaining in session, District 16B State Representative Paul Torkelson of Hanska said there has been little movement towards agreements on overall budget targets, as House Democrats and Governor Tim Walz have not compromised one penny from their proposed $12 billion in tax increases.
“There is a big division between how Democrats and Senate Republicans want to craft a budget,” Torkelson said. “The approaches to this budget year are significantly different, and that’s being revealed in the conference committees as we work to compare the bills.”
Torkelson noted he was recently named to the conference committee on transportation finance, which will craft a budget that will fund road and bridge needs for the next two years.
The $12 billion in tax increases on Minnesotans include a 20-cent per gallon gas tax – a 70 percent increase – as well as an increase in health care.
Considering Minnesota has a $1 billion budget surplus, Torkelson would like to see some tax relief included in a budget deal, but understands that House Democrats and Governor Walz will not give that any consideration.
“Of this $12 billion in tax increases, I honestly I don’t think much of it will get across the finish line,” Torkelson said. “I’m hoping the Senate will stand strong against increased taxes given that we already have a $1 billion budget surplus. Government doesn’t need any more of the people’s money.”