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Local lawmakers react to surplus news

Don Davis / Forum News Service

Local lawmakers say they see the success of prudent fiscal policies in the projected state surplus.

Minnesota Management and Budget estimates a $1.5 billion budget surplus heading into the 2020-21 biennium. Local Republican lawmakers said The state's rainy day fund will receive a $491 million infusion.

PREVIOUSLY: Minnesota economy chugs on, but slowdown on the horizon

In the last biennial budget, Republicans — who controlled both the House and Senate — passed the largest tax relief package in nearly two decades, benefiting seniors, college graduates, small businesses and farmers. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton signed it into law.

"This budget surplus is a testament to what is possible when we work together," said Sen. Mike Goggin, R-Red Wing. "Divided government is never easy, but it also guarantees we don't go too far toward either extreme. I am hopeful we'll be able to work with the House and with Gov.-elect Walz to continue our economic success."

Given the success of tax cuts, Republicans will consider more tax relief in light of the significant budget surplus, Rep. Barb Haley said.

"This surplus reflects the strength of our state's economy and demonstrates that Republicans' approach of tax cuts and responsible spending have worked for Minnesota," the Red Wing Republican said. "As we enter next year with such a large surplus, there is absolutely no need to raise taxes and take more money from hardworking taxpayers. That's why I intend to oppose any new tax increases on Minnesota families, and will instead advocate for further tax relief and investments in needed areas."

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, said he fears Democrats' "insatiable appetite to spend all of this surplus."

Democrats will control the House in 2019-20 while Republicans maintain a one-person majority in the Senate. He indicated he wants any surplus returned to citizens.

"Any projected surplus belongs to the people because it represents the amount of their money that the state over-collected," Drazkowski said. "Minnesota continues to confiscate much more than it needs, so we should continue to look at ways to ease the financial burden of our taxpayers. Minnesotans are already fleeing our state due to our excessive taxes, it's time to stop taking more and more and more from them."