The 2021 Legislative session goes into extra innings.
You might ask why?
Well, the sides have been far apart when it comes to agreeing on major policy issues.
First, the state budget forecast predicts a $1.6 billion dollar surplus on June 30, which is the end of our current biennium.
Plus, the state of Minnesota is receiving approximately $3 billion from the federal American Recovery Act money. This is all on top of the billions that the state received from the federal government in 2020.
The top policy issues are listed below:
Tax increases. We do not need to raise anyone’s taxes or create a fifth tier of taxes.
Police reforms. We do not want or need any. Law enforcement just needs our support now more than ever.
California emission standards. We do not want to be like California so we will not accept the governor’s desire for California's emission standards. The industry will sell you an electric car if you want one. Government should not be telling us what we are going to buy and drive.
100% renewable energy. We do not want to put undue strains on our electrical grid. The idea that the legislature can just set emission standards and expect the industry to meet them is a reckless and misguided energy policy.
Recreational marijuana. We do not want the legalization of recreational marijuana. The costs to society and the state greatly outweigh any potential tax revenues the advocates talk about.
Peacetime emergency powers. We need the governor to end his peacetime emergency declaration. It is now all about money and not about health care.
Our committees will continue to work on our final policy and spending agreements, and we expect to return to the Capitol in mid-June to finalize the budget.
The governor and the DFL majority in the House want to increase spending above the forecast, which is something the Senate disagrees with.
A little history on state spending: The 2006-07 biennium budget was $29.7 billion, and we are looking at approximately $51 billion for 2022-23. Add in the federal money and state collected fees, and our state will spend about $945 million a week in the 2022-23 biennium.
Our population has increased a small amount from approximately 5.15 million in 2006 to 5.71 million in 2020.
Our state government does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. When is enough, enough?