MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two-million Minnesotans have filed tax returns so far, and 1.3 million refunds have been processed without major delay.
But Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly says next year’s refunds could be a different story.
“What we are hearing from taxpayers is that they want more services from us,” Bauerly said.
She is taking the unusual step of publicly denouncing a Republican budget that cuts up to $50 million from her department — a budget she says will delay tax refunds for weeks and “months.”
“People are going to wait months and months for refunds,” she said. “That’s what will happen if we get these kinds of cuts.”
Republicans are cutting what they say is a bloated revenue department back to 2014-2015 levels. And top Republican Rep. Sarah Anderson made this statement about Bauerly’s dire predictions:
It should concern all Minnesota taxpayers this tax season that the Department of Revenue claims it needs $20 million in additional funding just to maintain current services. That is simply unacceptable.
The House Republican proposal scales back Department of Revenue funding to 2014-2015 levels. If the Department was able to provide needed services to taxpayers at those levels three years ago, there’s no reason to believe they can’t do the same in the coming biennium.
It’s time for the Governor and his commissioners to stop the “sky-is-falling” rhetoric aimed at protecting state bureaucracy and start putting Minnesota taxpayers first.
Bauerly predicts layoffs of up to 200 workers, a slowdown for e-filers and a drop in service for Minnesota taxpayers.
“I think what we don’t want to have happen in Minnesota is what’s happened on the federal level, where the IRS has, you know, hours and hours-long wait times for anybody to be able to get to a customer service representative or get information from them,” she said.
This is the busiest time of the year for the revenue department, with 900,000 Minnesotans expected to file their tax return in the next week. The tax deadline is April 18.