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Editorial: Give it back: Rebate checks should be part of any state surplus plan

Imagine this: a group of friends get together, and pool their resources to pay for something of common interest.
Perhaps it’s a gift for another friend. Maybe they share the costs associated with a hunting shack or they’re each contributing for plane and hotel fare for a joint vacation.
Whatever the scenario, in the end the friends have about 33 percent more money than they need to pay for what they want.
There’s a simple solution, right? Instead of the person collecting the money keeping what’s extra for him or herself, the friends would appreciate and rightfully expect that they’d get the “extra” money put in returned to them.
With this week’s news of the massive, nearly $18 billion state surplus, all of us - Minnesota’s taxpayers - have contributed far more than what is needed to fund state operations for the next two years.
No doubt that’s good news, and one that is already being spun by everyone from Gov. Tim Walz to legislators, holdover and incoming, from both sides of the political aisle.
Like children in advance of Christmas and yearning for new gifts, state officials are all but bursting at the seams with ideas of how to use the surplus, which amounts to a whopping 33 percent extra to spend.
Certainly, now would be a good time to address things that may have been put off in the past, including infrastructure projects and making sure our schools and kids have the resources they need.
We’re happy to hear that there appears to be growing resolve on both sides to right a wrong and repeal the tax on Social Security income. That’s long overdue.
But even as some Democrats, including legislative leaders, hemmed and hawed the last few days, we’re with Walz on a surplus plan that is really a no-brainer: rebate checks for Minnesota taxpayers.
Walz put himself at odds with some in his own party by suggesting that single filers get $1,000 back or couples get a $2,000 payment.
Call them what you will: Walz checks, a sales or income tax rebate or simply some help from the state to deal with skyrocketing home heating bills.
Whatever the name, they’re needed and clearly appropriate. After all, the state has more money than it budgeted for and the taxpayers should get it back.
This is a great opportunity for bipartisanship right out of the gate in St. Paul and hope it’s an issue that our two incoming lawmakers from opposing parties - Sen.-Elect Grant Hauschild and Rep.-Elect Roger Skraba - can agree on.
Hauschild campaigned on being an independent and moderate voice - one not afraid to buck his party when called for. We hope he can resist the extremists in the DFL camp who may want to keep all of the surplus for their pet programs or causes.
Rebate checks should be on our legislators’ to-do list, and the surplus shows now is certainly not the time to raise taxes in Minnesota.
The taxpayers have done more than their fair share, funding state operations to the max and stimulating an economy that provided a whopping surplus.
Give it back and hold the line. Two simple messages that would provide some relief to taxpayers in Minnesota for the next two years.

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