Yes, they’re actually calling them ‘Walz Checks’

Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz unveiled his latest budget proposal. Never mind that a budget for the current biennium was actually passed last summer and that it provided for more state government spending than ever before — this is an election year, and there are votes to be had.

Politicians usually try to be a bit subtle about this. Not Gov. Walz. Not only does his proposed budget include payments of $500 for single tax filers earning up to $164,400 and $1,000 for couples making up to $273,470, they are even calling these payments ‘Walz Checks’ — just in case you missed who it was that was giving you this cash.

I’m not making that up. The state government is forecast to take $9.2 billion more from Minnesotans over the 2022-2023 biennium than it said it needed when it passed its previous, record-breaking budget. Gov. Walz proposes to take $2 billion of this surplus and send everyone a check for $500 with his name stamped all over it.

Of course, if he was really serious about getting more money into the pockets of hard-pressed Minnesotans, he could just cut tax rates. And if he was really serious about helping Minnesotans face rising gas prices, he wouldn’t be pushing a plan to raise gas prices by 20 to 53 cents per gallon by adopting California’s fuel standard.

But neither of these results in the voter receiving a check for $500 with Gov. Walz’ name on it.

The forecast surplus represents a historic opportunity for Minnesota to change course and adopt tax policies that could reverse our relative economic decline. To see your money, instead, being used as an election year slush fund is pretty nauseating. Whatever this is as politics, it is very poor policy.