Something is wrong with the Minnesota State Legislature. Sitting on a $7 billion projected surplus for the biennium ending next June 30, they still failed to deliver tax relief to Minnesotans. The 2022 legislative session ran from Jan. 31 to May 23. Yet, these legislators say they ran out of time to accomplish tax cuts, to address infrastructure bonding, transportation needs and increased crime. Just how much time do they need to finish the job? It may be prudent to not use all this projected surplus until it is “in the bank”, but certainly some tax cuts are available now.
Inherent to this problem is the politicalization of issues, with strict party loyalty. Caucus leaders fail to negotiate, compromise and come together. Rank and file legislators sit by, let this happen and adjourn without completing their work.
With rising inflation, Minnesotans need tax relief that the state can afford, given this surplus projection. But now, these legislators go home and forget that they failed their constituents. They continue to collect a salary of over $4,000 a month, with state funded health insurance and pension contributions. Some even get year around housing in the metro area. If they perform legislative business between sessions, they can claim per diems. Who are they serving, themselves or Minnesotans?
Too much time is wasted during the session posturing, clinging to partisan bills that will not be supported by the other party. Then, in the proverbial 11th hour, some effort is made to reach agreement. Too little, too late! Negotiations for compromise need to occur much earlier, rather than later, in the legislative session. In a relatively evenly divided legislature, neither party should think they have a clear mandate from the voters to get their way. Minnesotans deserve better from their legislators!