There are plenty of people stepping up to take credit for the state's projected billion-dollar budget surplus. Gov. Dayton and the DFL believe the surplus is a result of the tax increase in the last budget, passed after Democrats took control of the Minnesota House and Senate. Republicans are giving the credit to the spending cuts and austerity that Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Republicans brought about in previous budgets. Independent economists are crediting the state's economy, which is recovering at a faster rate than the national average.
Whatever the reason, the Legislature will find itself in an unfamiliary situation this session, and especially next year when it's time to pass another budget. It will be starting with a balanced budget, and money in the bank.
We support the repeal of the three business-to-business sales taxes that were passed last session, the tax on farm equipment repairs, the tax on purchase of telecommunications equipment, and the tax on warehousing services that is supposed to take effect in April. The sooner these anti-business, anti-job taxes are gone, the better.
We also support the proposed pay increase for caretakers for the disabled and for senior citizens. These hard-working, dedicated service providers haven't had a raise in five years, and they deserve one now.
After that, we hope legislators will take a different approach to budget making. Instead of staking out their positions ahead of time and turning the Capitol in a battleground, we would hope they can approach the session with guards down, ready to honestly assess the needs of the state, and draw up a rational, responsible budget that won't suck the taxpayers dry.