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Minnesotans would be guaranteed either tax cuts or rebate checks whenever the state has a budget surplus under a Republican bill introduced Wednesday.

The Minnesota Refund Program bill is the latest idea offered by legislative Republicans who are pushing the Democratic majority to spend a chunk of the state's $17.5 billion surplus on tax cuts and rebate checks for Minnesotans.

"Minnesota has had a series of massive budget surpluses, but the folks who created these surpluses haven't seen any significant relief," said state Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, the bill's sponsor. "This proposal puts taxpayers first by holding the Legislature and governor accountable for delivering relief to Minnesotans."

Miller's bill would require that any time the state's November revenue forecast projects a budget surplus, 75% of it should be put into a new Minnesota Refund Account. The governor and Legislature would be given a March 1 deadline to pass a tax cut package using those funds. If they miss the deadline, the money in the account would be sent directly to taxpayers via rebate checks.

The bill is unlikely to advance in the DFL-controlled Legislature. But there remains some appetite at the Capitol for rebate checks, and lawmakers are considering cutting the state's tax on Social Security benefits.