Area’s Republican legislative contingent in St. Paul focus mostly on spending in DFL governor’s proposal

    This area’s legislative contingent in St. Paul, District 1B Republican State Rep. Deb Kiel of Crookston and Republican District 1 State Sen. Mark Johnson of Grand Forks, voiced their displeasure with DFL Gov. Tim Walz’s budget proposal for the 2020-21 biennium released last week by the first-term governor.

    Most of the concerns voiced by Kiel and Johnson center on tax increases in the proposal they don’t agree with, especially with a state budget surplus projected, and health care costs.

    “The governor’s proposed tax increases, particularly the gas tax and the sick tax, are going to hit middle and low income families hard,” Kiel said in a statement released by her office. “There is absolutely no need to raise taxes by over $3 billion when we have a surplus. I’ll oppose any efforts to make Minnesotan’s health care and daily living more expensive.”

    Johnson also touched on gun control measures in Walz’s proposal.

    “Governor Walz unveiled his budget for the state, and like his predecessor, the governor has outlined his desire to burden Minnesotans with higher taxes and fees along with attacks on the Second Amendment,” Johnson said. “With the economic challenges on Minnesota’s horizon and one of the highest tax burdens in the nation, it is simply irresponsible for the governor to tax and spend in such a reckless way. Fundamental government reforms need to take place. Simply taxing and spending is not how we move our state forward. I believe we need a new way of thinking - not this failed approach - to keep Minnesota prosperous.”