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Editorial: Payroll tax cut needed

As the U.S. House and Senate ponder the future of this year's national payroll tax cut, a look at how it helps southwest Minnesota families may offer some important perspective.

On Tuesday, Sen. Al Franken released a report that reveals how families across Minnesota would benefit from an additional cut in the payroll tax, which in its current form is set to expire at the end of this year. Franken's report includes a county-by-county list of how much median-income families would save from an expanded payroll tax cut in 2012, and how much of a tax increase they'd see if the current tax cut expires.

The expanded 2012 cut would allow median-income families the following savings, according to the report: Cottonwood County $1,262; Jackson County $1,538; Murray County $1,387; Nobles County $1,371; Pipestone County $1,280; and Rock County $1,492.

If the current tax cut expires, the following tax increases would result: Cottonwood County $814; Jackson County $992; Murray County $895; Nobles County $885; Pipestone County $826; and Rock County $963.

Republicans in Washington are demanding that any new payroll tax cut measure not add to the federal deficit. In other words, something else in our budget will need to be cut.

That demand is not necessarily unreasonable, given our ever-growing amount of fiscal red ink. And it seems more than reasonable, too, that as our nation's economy continues to struggle, families be given a little extra pocket money -- at the very least the same savings from the payroll tax cut that they enjoyed in 2011. We hope our legislators can come to an agreement -- and we know elusive those can be -- on funding.

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