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Column: Let's keep making progress for families

Mike Goggin, R-Red Wing, can be reached at sen.mike.goggin@senate.mn or 651-296-4264.

Most people accept that in order for our republic to function, some level of taxation is required of citizens to provide the core functions of government. But over the last several decades, government's approach to taxation has gotten out of hand.

Rather than ask the public to fund only the most crucial programs, government's wish list has been getting longer and longer and longer. This has meant regular folks like you and me are working harder than ever only to watch more and more money come out of our paychecks.

Last session, after Republicans took control of both chambers of the Legislature, we made it a priority to change the conversation toward taxes. We built our budget around finally passing major tax relief — a major departure from previous legislatures. The results were great for Minnesota taxpayers.

This session we have an opportunity to do even more. In December, Congress passed a major overhaul of the federal tax system. The federal bill will be a blessing for millions of American taxpayers — people are already taking home more in their regular paychecks, and companies are announcing employee bonuses, higher wages, and major new investments in America.

In Minnesota, we have to take a few steps to take advantage of these changes. Senate Republicans have been traveling the state holding Tax Town Halls to discuss the historic opportunity before us and solicit feedback directly from the public on how we should react to the federal bill. 

Bringing our tax code in line with federal changes is important for several reasons.

First, Minnesota's tax laws are so punishing that unless we take action, the state will over-collect $3.5 billion from Minnesota taxpayers through 2021. Conforming to federal changes will keep this money in your pockets and out of government's hands.

Second, the process of filing your returns will be incredibly complicated. While you will be able to file your federal taxes on a document the size of a large postcard, you will need to hire a professional to help you figure out the differences in our state tax laws.

Third, if we do not act then we will be missing out on a bonanza of economic activity. Higher wages, better-paying jobs, more economic security will pass us by — instead it will go to our neighbors like Wisconsin and Iowa.

Last year, the Republicans saved $650 million for working families; for families with young children; for college graduates paying off student loan debt; for 350,000 seniors collecting Social Security income; for farmers paying high property taxes; and for many more Minnesotans.

That was just the beginning. Do you want more money in your paycheck each pay period? Do you want it to be a little easier to save for college? For retirement? To pay to fix your car or replace an appliance?

We started moving in the right direction last session. In 2018, I hope we can make even more progress for Minnesota families.

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