My Point of View: Proposed tax relief is a no-brainer for Minnesotans

Published 5:07 am Wednesday, April 13, 2022

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My Point of View by Aaron Farris

Minnesota is one of only 12 states in the nation that taxes our seniors on their Social Security income. It makes less sense than the fact that Hawaii has an interstate. Recently, Republicans in the Minnesota Senate passed the biggest tax cut ever for the people of Minnesota. Now, we have to see what Gov. Walz and the Democrat-controlled House will do. This tax cut would reduce the first-tier income tax rate from 5.35% to 2.8% and would totally eliminate the tax on Social Security benefits. This would provide $8.51 billion in tax relief to Minnesotans over the next three years.

Aaron Farris

If Minnesota retirees want to leave for somewhere like Florida because the winters get a little rough here, that’s fine. But we should never have people leave our great state because they can’t keep up with the Democrats’ insatiable appetite for spending your hard-earned money. The Social Security tax is outdated and unfair to Minnesotans who have paid into this system their entire life.

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The most recent budget forecast for Minnesota included a $9.25 billion surplus. That’s your money, and while Gov. Walz and Democrats in the Legislature want to use that money to enhance and create new programs that will do nothing for those of us in southern Minnesota, Republicans in the Legislature like Sen. Gene Dornink and Rep. Peggy Bennett are working to give that money back to the people it came from.

Minnesota’s tax situation is truly tragic. Minnesota’s lowest tax bracket is higher than the highest tax bracket of 17 states in the country.

So how does this affect you personally? The Republican tax cuts would have a family earning $100,000/year seeing tax savings of $1,000/year. Anybody making $37,000/year would see a roughly $500/year reduction. The Republican plan would also eliminate the tax on Social Security and Disability Income. Under Gov. Walz’s lackluster plan, those same families would get one $350 check, and an individual who files separately would get a $175 check.

You can tell which of these plans is an election year gimmick. While the Senate Republicans’ plan provides real, permanent tax that makes a family or an individual’s paycheck bigger from now on, Gov. Walz’s plan (which he has hilariously dubbed “Walz Checks”) would provide one-time checks to people that I think would be insulting to people to call “tax relief” due to their minuscule size, and that fact that this is your money he’s talking about. A budget surplus means that we were overtaxed, and the governor believes that he and the Democrats know how to spend your money better than you do.

The states that border Minnesota (Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin) don’t tax Social Security benefits. Minnesotans have so many incentives to leave this beautiful state. By doing away with the Social Security tax, Minnesota Republicans would be putting $539 million back into the hands of beneficiaries. We want our seniors to stay in Minnesota. We want them to stay here and be a part of our communities. We want them to spend time with their children and grandchildren rather than counting down the days until they can move to a state with a warmer temperature and friendlier taxes.

This is an issue that should have bipartisan support (just like legalizing sports gambling, but I digress). However, the Democrats’ thirst for spending is a hard need to satisfy. Just ask them. When the news of a budget surplus came out last December, Democrats immediately began foaming at the mouth trying to decide what new tax and spend initiatives they want to push.

The reaction to this tax cut from the Democrats was swift, and, unsurprisingly, very lazy and cookie-cutter. They called them “tax cuts that would benefit the wealthiest Minnesotans,” which is Dem speak for “Uh-oh! They’re taking away our allowance!” I also don’t think making $100,000/year makes you one of the wealthiest people in the state.

Families in Minnesota need relief, and they need it now. The way to do it isn’t picking winners and losers through some government program, it’s by giving Minnesotans their money back. During this time of record inflation due to failed Democratic policies, instead of twiddling our thumbs trying to figure out what new government programs we can create, let’s give the money back to the people who gave it to us.

This is a no-brainer. This tax has hurt many in our state for far too long, and it’s time for Gov. Walz and Democrats in the legislature to act on these historic tax cuts and truly deliver real change for the people of Minnesota.

Aaron Farris is the vice chairman of the Freeborn County Republican Party.