GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers said he doesn’t take his marching orders from MNGOP Party Chair Tony Sutton. Zellers made his comments after he was asked about a letter Sutton wrote to GOP lawmakers reminding them that the state doesn’t need any new revenue. Zellers said he communicates regularly with Sutton but that doesn’t mean he follows every recommendation.
“Chairman Sutton can send us all kinds of letters recommending all kinds of great things,” Zellers said. “It doesn’t mean that I have to do exactly what Chairman Sutton says. I got a pretty big independent streak in my German heritage.”
As for new revenue, Sutton and GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said they oppose new tax increases. They were careful, however, to stay away from ruling out other revenue options like fees and gambling.
Zellers and Koch said their top priority is putting forward a balanced budget that erases a $5 billion projected budget deficit through spending cuts. He said discussions about other revenue may come after that.
“We got $33 billion in the checkbook. That’s what we’re going to spend, Zellers said. “If the governor has some ideas that aren’t introduced yet that doesn’t include a job killing tax increase, we’re going to be more than willing to talk about that later on. Our first job now is to introduce a budget which is focused on where are you spending the money, what are you spending it on and what are the citizens of the state getting for value.”
House and Senate Republicans will introduce their targets for each budget division next week. Expect the respective chairs to release their budget bills the following week.