New Walz plan for surplus includes bigger tax rebate checks

Published 1:07 pm Thursday, March 17, 2022

ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz released an updated plan Thursday for how to spend the state’s enormous budget surplus, including a proposal for income tax rebate checks of $1,000 per couple.

His revised supplemental budget proposal, released Monday, follows last month’s announcement that the state’s budget surplus has grown to $9.25 billion. It formalizes an idea he floated at the time for expanding his proposed tax rebate checks to $500 for single filers and $1,000 for married couples.

He’s calling the plan “Walz Checks,” a term that echoes the sales tax rebates known as “Jesse Checks” issued under former Gov. Jesse Ventura.

“With a historic surplus, we have an opportunity to provide direct relief to Minnesotans and invest in the future of our state,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “Amid global economic uncertainty, direct payments are one of the best ways to make it easier for Minnesotans to pay their bills. Right now, we have the resources to send $1,000 to Minnesota families.”

But the proposal requires approval by the Minnesota Legislature, which is split between a Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled House.

Senate Republicans are pushing to use most of the surplus for permanent income tax cuts for everyone, while House Democrats want to target the money toward lower-income Minnesotans and social programs.