Six Democrats voted with Republicans when the Minnesota Senate passed a bill Thursday to permanently cut income taxes and totally eliminate state income tax on Social Security benefits. Princeton Republican Andrew Mathews supports it, saying, “One of the biggest things I hear in my district… is, you’ve overtaxed us. That’s our money. Give our money back.”
Democrats say the wealthy will also benefit from Republicans’ plan, meaning less for financially-strapped schools. “There’s a mental health crisis…. We have a teacher shortage, especially in special education…. A record number of teachers, so sadly, are leaving the profession,” says Maplewood Senator Chuck Wiger.
Republicans’ tax cut plan would totally eliminate state income tax on Social Security benefits, regardless of income. Anoka Senator Jim Abeler says the current tax causes some people to leave Minnesota — either for just over half the year, or longer than that. Abeler says that means “they don’t go to the grocery store, they don’t take a part-time job as a senior, they don’t greet at Walmart, they don’t help at a nursing home, and they don’t become part of our grandkids’ lives as much.” Mankato Democrat Nick Frentz responds statistics don’t bear it out because Minnesota’s population growth rate is above the national average. “The question is not just who’s moving to where it’s a little bit warmer. The question is, who’s staying to raise a young family in our outstanding schools.” Democrats say eliminating state tax on Social Security benefits would mainly help the wealthy.