After surplus talks stall, Walz doubles direct payments to Minnesotans

MINNEAPOLIS– Gov. Tim Walz is reviving and doubling down on his Walz checks proposal, saying he now wants to give families $2,000 back and individuals $1,000 from the record surplus. This comes after talks for a deal with the GOP broke down late last week.

“It would be a 15-minute special session, a one-page bill… It’s about $2,000 per family,” the governor said. “The biggest thing we can do to improve the quality of life for Minnesotans right now is to put the money back in their hands.”

Hopes for some sort of state government pause faded late last week as talks between the governor and Republican and Democratic heads of state collapsed.

In tonight’s Talking Points, Esme Murphy looks at a lot of your money that’s left on the table

You’ve been hearing about an astronomical state surplus for months now, and you’ve all heard about some of the proposals to get the taxpayers’ money back.

First there were proposals for Walz checks in the amount of $500 for individuals and $1,000 per couple. Then there was supposed to be a giant tax deal, for $4 billion, which would have been the biggest tax cut in the history of the state. This agreement included the elimination of all taxes on Social Security income. Minnesota is one of twelve states that currently tax Social Security payments.

AFTER: Unlikely special session on Minnesota’s $10 billion budget surplus

But talks about how to give taxpayers a break when they really need it fell apart late last week. Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller says he can’t go along with the DFL’s spending plan, which includes $1 billion for education, $1 billion for health care and social services and $450 million for public safety.

Taxpayers are bound to be disappointed and even angry with elected officials for not reaching an agreement. And taxpayers will have their chance to weigh in November. Walz is up for re-election, as is the entire Minnesota House and Senate. Both Walz and Miller were guests on WCCO Sunday Morning.


Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller on tax talks and public safety

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“I made compromises, compromises, compromises. I’m just saying I don’t get the stuff about it, people are hurting, they need the money,” Walz said.

“Ultimately, the spending priorities were just different between Republicans and Democrats and ultimately and unfortunately we couldn’t come to an agreement,” Miller said.

The latest poll in the governor’s race shows Walz statistically tied with his Republican challenger, Dr. Scott Jensen. Legislative races, because they can turn on a handful of votes, are harder to predict. Control of the Minnesota House and Senate in November rests on just a handful of seats, and control of those two bodies will likely be determined by voter turnout.

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