Minnesota Governor Proposes Stimulus Checks Paid for By Budget Surplus – More than two years of stimulus checks and expanded government tax credit programs have started a trend, with state governors and legislators across the country proposing their own state-level stimulus packages even as the COVID-19 pandemic could be drawing to a close.
Bill HF 4625, introduced by Assistant Majority Leader State Rep. Dan Wolgamott and supported by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, would take funding from the state’s budget surplus and redistribute the money to Minnesota taxpayers.
What Will Minnesota Taxpayers Receive?
According to a press release from Rep. Wolgamott’s office, single filers and married taxpayers who filed a separate return will receive a $500 stimulus check, while married couples who filed their taxes together will receive a $1,000 stimulus check.
The stimulus check will arrive soon, too – potentially by late summer, according to the press release.
Who Is (and Isn’t) Eligible
Any Minnesota taxpayer will be eligible, so long as they were residents of the state in 2020 and filed their individual income returns by October 15, 2021. Residents who filed claims for refunds last year for property taxes in 2020 will also be eligible.
Residents will now be eligible, however, if they made more than $164,400 as a single individual filer, or $273,470 as married couples who filed their tax returns jointly.
Anyone who earned $218,540 as a head of household will also not be eligible, nor will married individuals who filed separately and earned over $136,735.
How Big is the Surplus?
In the press release, Wolgamott said that the budget surplus reached $9.25 billion, and argued that it was sufficient to provide meaningful direct payments to taxpayers without losing the opportunity to make critical investments in the state.
“I’m proud to work with Governor Walz to put money in the pockets of Minnesotans as families cope with unprecedented rising prices and economic challenges,” Wolgamott’s office said.
A Bigger-Than-Expected Budget Surplus
Minnesota’s General Fund surplus was originally expected to be $7.7 billion, but Minnesota Management and Budget announced in February that the figure had been revised to $9.25 billion.
According to the Minnesota Legislature, budget officials say that the state is expected to receive $57.3 billion by June 30, 2023, but will spend $51.7 billion. Revenues are also expected to rise to %60.6 billion in the next biennium – 2024-2025- while spending $54.3 billion.
“Under those projections, the state would end the current biennium with a surplus of $5.6 billion, rising to $6.3 billion in the next biennium,” the House Legislature explains.
While the stimulus proposals express positivity about the state’s finances, others warn that uncertainty remains.
“The update part of this is good news,” Commissioner Jim Schowalter said. “But the uncertainty has not stopped. It’s a challenging time to issue a long-term forecast.”
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.