Our Opinion: Be careful with budget

Published 8:29 am Friday, December 13, 2013

State financial officials predicted a $1 billion surplus for Minnesota last week, the first in several years. Legislators have already promised to pay back more than $246 million in payments to Minnesota school districts, which is a welcome policy. But Gov. Mark Dayton suggested more than half the money go toward tax cuts and sales tax repeal. We agree with Gov. Dayton’s suggestion, and we urge our legislators to follow through with the proposal.

As we recently wrote, taxpayer money needs to go back to the taxpayers when not set aside for future projects. We do not oppose smart government financial strategy, but we do believe any excess funding needs to be put back into taxpayer pockets.

We recognize there are a great many lobbyists and advocates who look at the recent surplus news with anticipation that more good could be done throughout the state with extra funding. We do not deny there are several services and programs that could use a financial boost for the betterment of Minnesotans.

Email newsletter signup

Yet the fact remains taxpayers are still feeling the effects of slow economic growth, and there are plenty of reasons why taxpayers can and should demand extra money be paid back to them. It stands to reason that taxpayers, who fund the government, should directly reap the benefits when it comes to government surplus.

We encourage legislators and state officials to discuss and move forward with tax cut proposals in the upcoming legislature. The people of Minnesota had to pay in when the state ran deficit budgets; it stands to reason taxpayers should see a return now the state has a surplus.