Fact-checking Gov. Walz on the budget surplus

Fact-checking Governor Tim Walz is going to be a full-time job in 2022 for those that follow state government. He speaks fast, loud and confidently. He has a habit of interrupting his own thoughts mid-sentence, and it’s sometimes very difficult to follow what he’s saying. But if you listen closely (and rewind the tape a few times), you can find the truth. Or in his case, the untruth.

His latest lie came this week at a forum put on by Forum Communications with Walz and legislative leaders. It’s important to immediately fact-check this lie in particular because we are likely to hear it again as he fights efforts to give back the budget surplus to those who paid it in the first place.

When asked about tax cuts, Walz falsely argued that the surplus came mostly from spending cuts and corporate taxes:

I will note that the surplus, for many reasons why it is there, but predominately on revenues is, we have a combination of less government spending, some of that is of course due to the pandemic, and we have record corporate profits. I will note there hasn’t been a single tax raised on the middle class, so folks are out there spending more and they’re spending that money and it’s collected by the corporations, that is not an over taxation, that is simply that the economy grew in that direction.

The numbers don’t back this up. Not even close.

The budget forecast documents from his own Office of Management and Budget show the growth in individual income taxes was $2.708 billion, more than double the growth in corporate taxes. And spending reductions accounted for only $331 million.

The ongoing permanent surplus is even more reliant on individual income taxes, with $3.252 billion expected in 2022-23, ten times more than the expected growth in corporate taxes.

Walz is trying to convince Minnesotans that the surplus came from evil corporations making profits, not from citizens’ own paychecks. It’s a lie.

Don’t let him get away with it. The $7.7 billion surplus is an over-collection of your taxes. Send Gov. Walz and your legislators an email urging them to Give It Back!