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Monday, June 24, 2024
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Letter to the Editor

Zeleznikar, Skraba Stand Up For Fiscal Responsibility

Minnesota has been on a budget roller­coaster since the early days of the pandemic. Initially expected to be billions in the hole in the first half of 2020, the state held a record-setting $20 billion budget surplus by early last year.

With inflation haven taken a bite out of family budgets and driven many small busi­ness owners to the brink, the hope from many was for some long-term financial relief from the record surplus. The simplest way to pro­vide relief would have been to use a portion of the surplus to reduce Minnesota’s chron­ically high tax rates.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it played out. Under single-party control of state govern­ment, the budget grew by an astonishing 40 percent. Few received direct relief from the surplus and it was largely on a one-time ba­sis. Those who received rebate checks – some as little as $260 – recently learned they’ll owe federal income taxes on that amount.

The average Minnesotan’s state and local tax burden remained the highest among our neighbors, over $1,500 more than the average Wisconsinite and over $2,000 more than our friends in the Dakotas. Minnesota’s individ­ual income tax burden remained the fifth highest in the country. Our corporate tax rate will be the highest in the country starting in 2024.

To say fiscal responsibility was lacking during the 2023 legislative session would be an understatement. Thanks to the unsustain­able spending spree, Minnesota now heads from a record surplus to a $2.3 billion deficit in the next budget cycle.

In the midst of this disappointing legisla­tive session, two northern lawmakers stood out for their prudent and responsible ap­proach. First-term state representatives Na­talie Zeleznikar (Fredenberg Township) and Roger Skraba (Ely) had the backs of small business owners and hardworking families who are trying to make ends meet.

Zeleznikar and Skraba understand firsthand the impacts that inflation, supply disruptions, and worker shortages had – and continue to have – on small businesses that are the back­bone of Northern Minnesota’s economy. They wisely opposed heavy-handed govern­ment mandates and the billions in tax hikes that will drive up the price of everything from renewing vehicle tabs to filling up your gas tank to property tax bills.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) thanks Rep. Zeleznikar and Rep. Skraba for their work in 2023 and looks forward to helping them make our state a better place to live, work, and do business in 2024.

John Reynolds
Minnesota State Director
National Federation of Independent Business

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