Fact checking Gov. Walz’s record on tax hikes

On Friday, Gov. Walz tweeted:

This is not true.

In 2019, Gov. Walz proposed a 2% tax on the cost of every medical procedure performed in the state of Minnesota, not only increasing taxes but making healthcare more expensive. This tax was already in place, but was due to expire in 2020. Indeed, even his own budget called the proposal a “Rate Increase for the Provider Tax” and the Department of Revenue said that “The combined increase in tax collections in the bill is estimated to be $692.4 million in 2021.”

In the end, Republicans in the Senate conceded a 1.8% increase which, in the interests of full disclosure, Sen. Scott Jensen voted for. As I wrote at the time:

Both sides gave up something. The Republicans conceded on the sick tax, it will remain albeit at a lower rate of 1.8%, and Democrats gave up their proposed 70% gas tax hike.

Hang on, what was that about a 70% gas tax hike?

Yes, you read that right. As I wrote at the time:

In his budget, [Gov. Walz] proposes raising gas taxes by 20 cents per gallon. This would be a huge hike. At present, Minnesota’s gas tax is near the national median average: We’re No. 28 in the country. Gov. Walz’s increase would move our state into the top five nationally. It would cost the average driver an estimated $156 a year.

Gov. Walz also proposes to raise the vehicle registration tax, the vehicle sales tax, and the fee for license tabs. The Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association estimates that, on a common Minnesota vehicle, such as a $28,000 Ford F-150 truck, both the sales tax and the registration tax would jump about $105 each. That’s a total of about $210 more in taxes per vehicle.

So Gov. Walz not only did hike taxes in 2019, but he would have hiked them by more had he been able to.

This happened again in 2021. As I wrote at the time:

Today, Gov. Walz unveiled his budget for the 2022-2023 biennium. In it, he proposes a new fifth income tax rate of 10.85 percent and a hike in the corporate income tax rate to 11.25 percent.

Fortunately, both proposals were blocked, once again, by the Senate.

In both of his proposed budgets since he came into office, Gov. Walz has wanted to raise taxes on Minnesotans. And he has. And he would have gone even further if he had been able to. His attempt to cast himself now as a low tax guy is an attempt to take the credit for the fiscal conservatism of those who stopped him.