Legislators will take an extended break after this week and return to their respective districts across the state, away from the Capitol. Historically, this is a common time that results in a level of course correction, or reality check. When this happens, legislators are reminded by the people of their districts, who sent them to St Paul in the first-place.
As they are reincorporated into their communities and attend community events, church, synagogue or the mosque, or other places they interact with members of their communities. They will get an ear full. We expect the steady drumbeat being offered up by the Center for the American Experiment of It’s Our Surplus, Give It Back, which is fundamentally flawed and untrue, because the surplus is a creation of Federal COVID money, a strong local economy, which has resulted in higher corporate earnings and hence higher tax payments, and lower spending due to the pandemic and the dramatic changes in people’s daily lives.
The DFL Majority in the House is approaching the surplus issue in a completely different targeted approach, through cost reductions and tax credits. This means rather than a sweeping broad brush, people on the lower fiscal spectrum will receive more of the benefit than with the upper-crusted.
This discussion is where the conflict between reality and partisan rhetoric resides.
The reality is if the two-sides fail to come together in the end, the surplus will remain and then it will be left for the newly elected in 2023 to sort out. Now, this is part and parcel of the Republicans mantra and strategy, because they think the wind is at their backs with this election and letting the surplus remain will be theirs for the taking and sweeping tax cuts will result. This is a familiar scenario seen during the Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) era of back-to-back deficits and a robbing of the Tobacco Settlement.
The fact, Minnesota had its poorest fiscal time in those years is now, just drowned out by the Give It Back rhetoric and false narrative. Status Quo is not in our state’s interest, but it is in the GOP’s.