Editorial: Investment in education a plus, tax increase not so much

Published 9:01 pm Thursday, February 21, 2019

Gov. Tim Walz unveiled his 2020-21 budget proposal for the state of Minnesota Tuesday at the Capitol.

Walz’s top priorities seem like a solid investment — roads and bridges, education and affordable health care coverage. The two-year spending plan focuses on several of the elements that Walz championed on his campaign trail during the 2018 election.

The proposal includes $733 million for preschool through high school, while also adding an additional $158 million for higher education. The increase will help cover special education costs, support recruitment and retention of minority teachers, and continue funding pre-K access for 4,000 4-year-olds across the state.

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Preparing our state’s students for the future is important.

The major issue facing members of the Minnesota Legislature is Walz’s solution to funding — a gas tax, motor-vehicle sales tax and registration tax. Although these taxes would generate $11 billion over 10 years to help fund transit, road and bridge improvements, a 20 cent gas tax increase is something that terrifies Minnesotans looking to travel across the state.

The idea isn’t anything new as former Gov. Mark Dayton proposed the same idea during his budget.

Rep. Bud Nornes stated in a press release that the proposed budget is “bad news for Greater Minnesota and low- to middle-income earners in general.” The fear from Republicans is that the recently elected governor will turn Minnesota into the cold California with high taxes. They are not wrong as, tax increases are never met with applause from the voting public.

We hope that the Legislature finds a reasonable compromise to the budget as lawmakers work together for what will be best for the state. We do not need a state shutdown due to arguments over how best to obtain and spend taxpayer money.