Attention Minnesota! Gov. Tim Walz released an updated plan for spending the state’s massive budget surplus on Thursday, including a proposal for $1,000 income tax rebate checks per couple.
His revised supplemental budget proposal, released on Monday, follows the announcement last month that the state’s budget surplus had grown to $9.25 billion.
It formalizes a proposal he made at the time to increase the size of his proposed tax rebate checks to $500 for single filers and $1,000 for married couples.
He’s dubbed the program “Walz Checks,” a play on the sales tax rebates known as “Jesse Checks” issued by former Gov. Jesse Ventura.
Using a New Hope gas station as a backdrop, Walz stated that the checks will assist Minnesotans dealing with rising gas prices and other daily necessities.
“It would be about $2 billion of the surplus and send it back in checks right now to make a difference at the pump, to make a difference at the grocery store until we get stability in Ukraine, get Russia out of Ukraine, get some stability in our prices,” he said. “It would help Minnesotans.”
The proposal still needs to be approved
The proposal, however, must be approved by the Minnesota Legislature, which is divided into a Republican-controlled Senate and a Democratic-controlled House.
Senate Republicans want to spend the majority of the surplus on permanent income tax cuts for all, while House Democrats want to spend it on lower-income Minnesotans and social programs.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller of Winona told reporters that he prefers permanent, ongoing tax relief but does not rule out a one-time rebate.
Walz also proposed an additional $230 million in spending, including $73 million for cost-of-living adjustments for public pension plan retirees, $23.5 million for health care, $20 million for emergency shelter services, and $9 million for cybersecurity. He also proposed that an aging State Patrol helicopter be replaced.