ST PAUL — Echoing state Senate Republicans' proposal, House Republicans, too have called on fellow legislators to cut taxes for a second year in a row.

House Republican leadership on Monday, March 9, proposed a package to cut taxes by a total of $1 billion this legislative session. Notably, House Republican's proposal would eliminate all state taxes on Social Security benefits, increase eligibility for the child care tax credit, double the state's existing student loan tax credits and reduce property taxes.

In late February, state budget officials projected a $1.5 billion surplus in the state budget, reigniting debates in Capitol halls on how the surplus should be spent. On Monday, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said that surplus "means we're collecting more money than state government needs."

Pointing to Republicans' $1 billion tax cut proposal on the Senate side, Daudt said Monday that "Republicans are united in our push for significant tax relief for Minnesota families."

Daudt at Monday's news conference pushed hard to eliminate Social Security income tax, saying that Minnesota is one of only 13 states to tax such income, which he called "antiquated." In a cold state with many snowbirds, he said legislators should "give (retirees) an advantage to stay here in Minnesota and keep their residency here in Minnesota."

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When asked why not scale back income tax thresholds for Social Security recipients — like the Legislature did in 2017 — Daudt said there's no reason not to stop collecting Social Security income taxes entirely: "We can afford to eliminate it all now." But Democrats have retorted that tax cuts are ongoing expenses that should not be based on a one-time surplus.