House Republican leaders announced this morning a budget plan that includes $2 billion in taxes — a number that caught Rep. Greg Davids by surprise.
The House Taxes Committee chairman said he had been expecting anywhere from $500 million to $1.5 million in tax cuts. The Preston Republican said he’s excited at the prospect of putting together a bill with $2 billion in tax cuts and credits over the next month.
“It’s going to be a tax bill that I would think most everyone would want to support. My goal is to get a bill signed by the governor,” Davids said.
Among the tax cuts Davids said he will be pushing is one to phase out the state’s income tax on Social Security benefits. Also on his wish list is a phase out of the state’s commercial/industrial tax.
“We want to show our small businesses that we want you here, we want you to stay here,” he said.
Other items that could be included are provisions to conform the state’s estate tax and gift tax with federal law. Davids is also interested in phasing out the income tax on military veterans’ pensions.
Democrats have been sharply critical of the Republican plan to give back the state’s entire $1.9 billion surplus in the form of tax cuts instead of investing in key areas like education. The GOP plan also slows spending in Health and Human Services, with the GOP budget target $1 billion below the expected spending growth in that area.
“Republicans were given a $2 billion budget surplus on a silver platter, and now they want to give it all back to their corporate special interests with a silver spoon. They are wasting our opportunity to expand economic opportunity for all Minnesotans, in order to cater to the priorities of their corporate backers,” Thissen said in a statement.
Thissen also said the Republican budget is “ a recipe for a government shutdown.”
But Davids said he’s confident he can put together a bill that can win DFL and GOP support. He added that as a gesture of goodwill, he doesn’t plan to include a repeal of the 4th-tier income tax hike that Gov. Mark Dayton pushed because he recognizes that’s a nonstarter.
“I think it’s highly irresponsible to be talking about a shutdown right now.”
For more on the GOP budget, check out this Associated Press story.