Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen on Thursday unveiled a sweeping inflation-fighting plan that includes eliminating Minnesota’s state income tax and cutting government spending.
At a press conference at the state Capitol on Thursday, Jensen said he wants Minnesota to phase out its personal income tax over time, joining nine other states, including neighboring South Dakota. , which have no state income tax. Minnesota’s personal income tax is the state’s largest revenue generator, bringing in about $30 billion over two years.
“We need to put more money in the wallets and checkbooks of ordinary Minnesotans now,” Jensen said.
Family doctor Chaska and former state senator said he would pay for the plan through budget cuts and economic growth, but offered few details. When asked if it was realistic to eliminate personal income tax and how he could balance the state budget without that revenue, he said he wanted to start the discussion.
“I don’t know how we could determine if it’s realistic if we’re not willing to have this big, bold, robust discussion,” Jensen said.
The phasing out of income tax was among 10 initiatives Jensen outlined in his “Fight Inflation Today” plan, which he said would “protect and improve the family budget.”
Jensen’s plan contrasts with DFL Governor Tim Walz’s latest proposal to return half of the state’s budget surplus to taxpayers by issuing checks for $1,000 to individuals and $2,000 to families. The governor also agreed to permanent tax cuts as part of the budget deal reached with legislative leaders during the regular session, though lawmakers did not pass a tax bill by the deadline. adjournment.
Jensen accused Walz of “bowing” to Minnesota voters with his one-time discounts which the governor initially called “Walz checks.”
“When I look at what Governor Walz has proposed, I wonder, how can he be so out of touch?” said Jensen. “To me, when you start talking about checks going to everyone in Minnesota, even though they didn’t contribute to that overpayment, and then you put your name on it, that’s the height of political vanity.”
Democrats have accused Jensen of pressuring Republican lawmakers to back out of the bipartisan budget deal, which included what would have been the largest tax cuts in state history.
“And now he opposes returning the surplus to Minnesotans in the form of checks,” DFL President Ken Martin said in a statement. “He doesn’t care about inflation – he cares about winning an election to implement his extreme agenda.”
Jensen said under his proposal, the average family of four would also see an additional $5,000 or more in their pockets through “permanent tax cuts or other mechanisms.” And it would exempt social security payments from state taxes.
Jensen also pledged to veto any tax increases and veto “unnecessary spending”, while investigating what he called “billions of dollars of waste, fraud and abuse” in the state, singling out child care fraud, light rail spending, and the troubled MNLARS vehicle registration and registration computer system.
Jensen was asked if he thinks he can make more than a “small dent” in inflation, given that it is largely a domestic and international problem.
“I think Minnesotans would appreciate a slight drop in inflation,” he said.
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