“Governor Tim Walz thinks you are made of money, but all he will find is blood, sweat, and tears,” said Lake Crystal Republican state Representative Jeremy Munson in response to the recently released state budget proposal.

Republican State Representative Jeremy Munson of Lake Crystal.

“The budget overall, almost $50 billion, the largest in state history and an eight percent increase since the last biennium is more than four times the rate of inflation,” he added.

Among the governor’s proposed initiatives, spending that would increase the number of child care providers in the state amid a shortage the Center for Rural Policy and Development terms “a quiet crisis.

Munson said the state should instead tackle fraud within the system because, “We’ve identified almost $100 million in child care fraud; Governor Walz wants to double down and add an additional $44 million in child care funding. It’s unnecessary.”

As for the 20-cent increase in the gas tax Walz proposed, Munson said it’s unfair to greater Minnesotans. “People here in rural Minnesota tend to drive less fuel-efficient vehicles, we drive farther for what we do, and we make less per family. So, as a portion of our income this is a major tax on rural Minnesota and further divides us rural versus metro,” he said

Munson added that the spending increase is equal to $10,000 of state spending for every person in Minnesota, and about $25,000 of state spending for every person who pays state income taxes.

The Governor’s budget proposal may be revised next week, after revenue projections are adjusted in the February forecast.