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Here's how local senators would spend Minnesota's projected $17.6 billion budget surplus

State senators, Paul Utke, Jordan Rasmusson and Rob Kupec, all issued statements and their plans to deal with Minnesota's projected $17.6 billion budget surplus on Dec. 6.

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DETROIT LAKES — Permanent tax relief and eliminating the tax on social security benefits highlighted the responses from lakes area legislators to address Minnesota's projected $17.6 billion record budget surplus on Tuesday.

Following the release of the state's November economic forecast by the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget , state senators, Paul Utke, Jordan Rasmusson and Rob Kupec, all released statements on how to address the state's surplus funding.

Utke, R-Park Rapids, said the surplus is a "clear indicator" of Minnesotans being overtaxed.

"Legislators must step up to provide permanent relief for all Minnesotans," wrote Utke, in a released statement. "Families across the state are nervous about inflation and the looming possibility of a recession. Minnesotans cannot afford costly Democrat policies that grow the size and scope of government without providing any relief."

Incoming freshman Senator Rob Kupec, DFL-Moorhead, joined three other incoming senators, Grant Hauschild, DFL-Hermantown, Heather Gustafson, DFL-Vadnais Heights, and Judy Seeberger, DFL-Afton, and issued a joint statement.

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Sen.-elect Rob Kupec, DFL-Moorhead
Contributed photo

"In our conversations with voters, again and again we heard that the state tax on Social Security benefits was a top concern," stated the incoming senators. "Not only does it burden many of Minnesota’s seniors, it also leads to retirees leaving the state for others where this benefit is not taxed. This is unacceptable."

The group also pointed out that Minnesota is one of twelve states the currently taxes social security income, and eliminating those taxes would provide relief to about 350,000 Minnesotans.

"With the historic budget forecast announced yesterday, it is clearer than ever that relief from the double-tax on Social Security benefits for our seniors should be an attainable goal," the group stated. "As four incoming Senators who helped deliver the majority to the DFL, we will be making this our top budget priority going into the legislative session."

Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls, announced he will introduce a property tax relief package once the legislative session gets underway in January, in a released statement on Tuesday.

"I’ve already heard from constituents that the proposed property tax increases are more than they can handle," stated Rasmusson. "Inflation is still squeezing their budgets, and with an expected surplus in St. Paul, we can deliver meaningful tax relief to help people afford their lives. I’ll work with my colleagues in the Senate to find compromise and consensus in order to reduce Minnesotans' tax burdens and give the surplus back to the people."

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Sen.-elect Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls
Contributed / Jordan Rasmusson

His proposal includes: increasing the homestead market value exclusion; enhancing relief to seniors who defer their taxes; and beginning to eliminate statewide property taxes on commercial, industrial and seasonal recreational properties.

"No other state levies a statewide property tax on commercial/industrial or seasonal recreational properties and it’s time to end this unnecessary burden Minnesota is imposing," Rasmusson said. "Eliminating this tax would be a big help for property owners in our area, especially when you consider the high number of seasonal operations in this region."

He also supports a senior citizen property tax deferral to help prevent people from being priced out of their homes.

Lead Multimedia Reporter for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus.
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