Local lawmakers debate merits of GOP-proposed Tax Bill
There are different opinions in St. Paul on what Minnesota should do with the state's $1.65 billion budget surplus.

Last week house Republicans proposed a $1.35 billion tax cut - which does not excite Democrats.

So, get ready for some political sparring about how the surplus should be used.

The house omnibus tax bill is similar to a proposal that was vetoed by Governor Mark Dayton last year.

Republicans say that middle class Minnesotans have been over-taxed and that this bill will be benefit many across the state.

"There's really something for everyone in our tax bill," said Republican Majority Leader Joyce Peppin of Rogers. "Stuff for senior citizens. Stuff for families with kids, college students, farmers. There's some 'R' and 'D' tax credits and for repealing the estate tax in Minnesota," said Peppin.

While Republicans are praising the bill, Democrats are singing a different song.

They say there are no working family tax cuts in the bill and that the cuts are mostly for businesses and millionaires.

Democrats want a smaller tax bill that focuses more on schools and the cost of higher education so student debt can be reduced in the future.

"It shows really misplaced priorities for the state of Minnesota," said DFL Minority Leader Melissa Hortman  of Brooklyn Park. "The size of the tax bill is so large, so weighted towards wealthy and out of state business interests that it squeezes out funding for early childhood education through 12th grade and it squeezes out funding for our colleges."

Last year's bill did have bipartisan support with both Democrats and Republicans as 89 percent of legislators voted for it before it was vetoed.

Eric Nelson, reporting

March 27, 2017


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