ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Don't count on a sales tax rebate check like the ones that became popular in prior years when Minnesota ran a budget surplus, the state's top senator said Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said it's unlikely his chamber would go that route if there are extra dollars for lawmakers to allocate next year. An economic forecast last week showed $825 million available, but a new report will come out as lawmakers return in late February.
When Jesse Ventura was governor, he insisted that some surplus dollars be returned to taxpayers by way of rebate checks.
Bakk, a Democrat from Cook, said his preference is to add more money to the state's rainy-day reserves, consider transportation investments and make other one-time decisions that don't have a lasting budget impact.
"We have just barely got our head above water now with a positive forecast after we've had these nagging problems going back to 2002 and I really don't want to rush to make permanent changes to the tax side and the spending side with everything that's available," Bakk said.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has already floated the possibility of $436 million in tax cuts, in part by repealing some just-imposed sales taxes. Bakk didn't commit to or rule out those ideas.
Bakk said some money could be used to help government-aided nursing homes cope with a possible increase in the state's minimum wage.