Collapse of special session is good news for Minnesotans

Last week negotiations between leaders of the state House, Senate, and Governor over whether or not to have a special session broke down. If you’re wondering whether this was good news or not, here is KSTP’s headline: ‘Special legislative session off the table, billions of dollars left unspent by the state.’ They reported:

Talks of a special session collapsed Thursday as Gov. Walz and legislative leaders failed to reach an agreement, despite a multi-billion dollar surplus.

The surplus will not be spent — at least not now — and that is good news. As we argued in our recent report ‘It’s Our Surplus: Give It Back!,’ Minnesotans are already some of the most heavily taxed citizens in the United States; these taxes restrain economic growth and push people out of and away from our state, and we still have various social problems after following this high tax and spending model for decades. Whatever the cure may be for these ills, splashing more cash isn’t it.

Instead, the surplus should be put towards permanent tax rate cuts. Polling finds that Minnesotans support this policy.

The deal struck towards the end of the session would have put $4 billion of the surplus towards tax cuts and $4 billion towards new spending. This is spending that would have been baked in in years to come, on top of state government spending which is already at near record high levels, both in per capita terms and adjusted for inflation.

It isn’t clear why the Senate GOP went along with this — that is a matter of politics, not policy — but we can be grateful that the proposal now seems to be dead and buried. The parties can now go to Minnesotans in November offering a clear choice. An open, robust, yet respectful debate on the state’s future can only be a good thing.