A whole lot of nothing: A divided Minnesota Legislature can’t find a way to spend a record surplus

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For Gov. For Gov.


Record-breaking tax cuts No.


Eliminating state taxes on social insurance income Sorry, no.


Walz Checks? An increase of education funding in excess of a billion dollars Yeah, no.


Is there a plan to spend billions of dollars on federal money for roads and bridges, waterworks, and transit? Close but not.


Record revenue surplus to schools, public safety investments and staffing for long-term facilities has resulted in increased funding. It’s not even close.


The first capital construction bonding bill since 2020. Again, no.


The 201 legislative seats and the four constitutional offices on ballot will ensure that much of the campaign rhetoric about this session is focused on what one side wants to pass, but which side has blocked. It could be a repetition of non-accomplishments.


It is not clear if there was ever any chance of a special meeting. Walz had himself tried to put pressure on the Senate and House to complete work on budget bills, by stating that there would not be a special session.


He said it more than once: “Get your work done.”

When the bipartisan framework to resolve spending priorities was with only seven days remaining in the session, Walz joked with reporters about whether it was possible to reach political agreement on the details.


“Font-weight 400 ;”>” I know it’s your job, to be skeptical,” he stated with legislative leaders by his side. He said, “It is the air you breathe on this.” His predictions about future deals on unemployment insurance and bonuses for frontline workers were met with doubts. Yet, those things did happen.


Walz suggested that perhaps a special session, which he had said was unlikely to take place, might be necessary to close the deal. The deal was signed by Walz and Melissa Hortman, DFL House Speaker, and Republican Senate Majority leader Jeremy Miller. It covered three years of spending and divided $12 billion worth of expected surpluses into three equal parts to finance new spending, tax cuts, and savings.


Although the tax cut agreement was reached, it was kept in reserve until spending bills were available. They were not. After the regular session was over, the committee chair held informal negotiations. However, none of the May deals seemed to be close in June.


The governor declared last Thursday that special session negotiations were in limbo after a meeting between Walz, Hortman, and Miller. Walz was “deeply disappointed span” in his public optimism and said that he felt a loss of confidence.


Hortman stated last week that talks were over when Miller informed them that the May 16 agreement was not valid beyond the end of the regular session on May 23. It was evident probably throughout the entire post-session period. She stated that the Senate GOP did not present any counteroffers to DFL offers in the four closed-door meetings held since adjournment.


Although Miller did not mention a “use by” date in his signing of the deal, and it would have been contrary to previous deals made by majority leaders, he did state several times during the closing hours that his caucus was not interested in a special session.


Miller’s post-collapse speech focused on tax cuts that the GOP had proposed. DFL spending priorities weren’t aligned with the state’s. Global deals are global because everyone gets what they want. Trying to suggest that tax cuts should or should be passed without spending is a violation of the spirit of such deals.


During the four-month session, there were many successes. There were more successes than the skeptics predicted for an election year. It might prove difficult to create a state-wide political campaign around the craft beer growler bill, health care reinsurance and refilling of the unemployment fund.


Shoulda, coulda and shoulda is the theme.


Walz repeated what he had said the week prior in a Sunday morning TV interview. He now favors giving the bulk tax-cut set aside in larger checks to families. Now $2,000 per family, instead of the $350 he began with in January, and the $1,000 that he suggested when the surplus grew in February. Walz was ready to promote the idea again. On Wednesday, he proposed a special one-day session that would do nothing except that.


The Legislature never saw checks as a hot topic, either among House DFLers and Senate Republicans. They may have even been dead among Republicans after he called them “Walz Checks”, in an election year. It doesn’t hurt for an incumbent governor to claim he wanted all adults to have cash. However, the GOP blocked it, particularly with Democrats being hit hard by inflation, especially gas prices.


Before the regular session ended, the budget deal was already politicized. GOP endorsed candidate Scott Jensen suggested that Republicans should reject it. He said, “Wait ’til next Year.” Miller stated at the time that he had not heard of it and hadn’t received any support from his constituents.


Miller stated that the agreement framework Miller proposed accomplishes this. “If we can obtain permanent ongoing tax relief to the people of Minnesota that would be a great thing span>


However, Walz stated that he felt the GOP had lost its enthusiasm for the deal during closed-door negotiations. He called it buyer’s regret and cited the contested GOP primaries to explain why incumbents didn’t want a special session.


Walz’s campaign blamed Jensen after he declared an impasse. It’s shameful Scott Jensen broke that agreement. Walz stated that Minnesotans had asked their leaders for compromises to help working families. But Scott Jensen chose to support partisan politics.


After Walz presented his new and improved rebate-check plan, Jensen suggested that Walz call a one day special session to see if his fellow DFLers would be supportive.


span style=”font weight: 400 The truth is that Gov. is the only person who can call a special session. Jensen stated that Walz can call a special session today and he could do so today.” “So, I urge him to keep his word, prove that this isn’t election year politicking and return all of the state surplus .”


Lawmakers love to complain about how one side links another bill, such as “we won’t pass that until we pass this,” or “we won’t pass that until we pass this,” etc.


The celebration was intended to be a celebration, but it was actually an indictment against the legislative process. As a backdrop, veterans organizations and lawmakers from both parties stood at the Capitol to celebrate the signing of an omnibus bill for veteran’s services. Nearly unanimously, the bill included funding for bonuses to post 9/11 veterans or their families, support for combating homelessness among veterans, and money for veterans cemeteries.


However, if it hadn’t been separated from a massive omnibus bill which also included state government pensions legislation and transportation legislation, it may have suffered the exact same fate as the broad areas of the budget.


However, veterans groups demanded that the Legislature withdraw it and pass it separately. Walz stated that he hopes it will be a precedent.

To commemorate the signing a veteran’s services Omnibus Bill, both the parties’ lawmakers and veterans organizations stood in front of the Capitol.


Walz promised that he would not trade a good policy regarding veterans issues for any other issue. Walz promised that he would not engage in any last-minute negotiations. Instead, he will move the policies, discuss the policies and fund those policies that have the greatest impact for veterans and their families.


This statement raises the question: Why is it important for veterans, but not for other vital areas like education and long-term care?


A special session is unlikely so the 2022 elections will decide the outcome of the state’s largest surplus, both in dollars and percentage, in history. The next governor and Legislature will have a surplus in excess of $12 billion based on a $52 billion base state budget.

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