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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Scott Jensen proposes tax cuts to fight inflation, including phasing out the personal income tax.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Jensen called Thursday for tax cuts and curbing government spending and regulations to help Minnesotans cope with the highest inflation rate in 40 years.

Inflation is already dominating election campaigns across the country. Republicans see this as a major challenge to trying to shore up their ranks in the Minnesota Capitol and other state buildings across the country, as well as in Congress.

“Now we need to put more money in the wallets and checkbooks of ordinary Minnesotans,” Jensen said at a press conference.

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz a day earlier renewed his call for lawmakers to approve one-time tax refund checks of $1,000 for individual claimants and $2,000 for couples to return to taxpayers a portion of the state’s remaining $7 billion budget surplus to help them deal with high levels of gas. and other prices.

It sparked an uproar from Waltz on Wednesday from President Joe Biden, who urged other state and local governments to take similar action as he proposed abolishing the federal gas tax. But Republican legislative leaders again dismissed the rebate offer as an election year gimmick and backed their calls for permanent tax cuts. The chances that the special session will approve any changes remain remote.

Jensen criticized the governor’s plan as “pimping” because he would send checks to all Minnesotans, whether or not they pay taxes that increase the surplus. He called for a possible phase-out of the state income tax. He also supported the Republican Party’s push to eliminate the state income tax on Social Security benefits, which are already tax-exempt for many low- and middle-income Minnesotans.

While his plan didn’t detail how he would get there, Jensen said his goal is to return $4,000 to $5,000 for every family of four, and that his plan could include some sort of one-time upfront payment along with with permanent cuts.

Democrats have criticized Jensen for his lack of details, saying his proposal to eliminate the personal income tax would cost the state $30 billion in annual revenue that funds education, health care and other programs.

“Scott Jensen’s tax plan will destroy our schools and destroy the government programs our families rely on to access affordable health care and more,” said Marissa Luna, executive director of the Democratic-affiliated Alliance for a Better Minnesota. . “We need a leader who works for all of us, not just the rich and big corporations.”

Jensen, a family doctor and former state senator for Chaska, has moved beyond vaccine skepticism and opposition to Walz’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has helped him garner support from the Republican Party, and has recently spoken about public safety and the economy. weeks.

He previously proposed suspending the state’s 28.6 cents per gallon gas tax. Waltz didn’t rule out a gas tax holiday, but the idea didn’t catch on until the Legislature adjourned its regular session last month, and the governor called his rebate proposal a better alternative.

Governors can do little to reduce inflation, which is a problem for the national economy, but Jensen said the state can help cut public spending. He didn’t have much detail on how to fill the big hole that eliminating the personal income tax would make in the state budget. But he said he wanted to continue this conversation.

“If we can’t talk about it, we’ll never solve the problem with big and bold ideas,” Jensen said.

Creating a “bubbly economy” along with “drastic cuts” in government spending could help, Jensen said. Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse can do “tremendous damage,” he added, citing cost overruns from the troubled Southwest Light Rail project and the state driver’s license system as examples, and fraud that has been uncovered in day care and food programs. jar.

World Nation News Desk
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