A Republican state legislator is proposing tax cuts for Minnesota Olympic medalists, saying the elite athletes shouldn't be "financially penalized upon returning home."

Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington said he plans to introduce legislation early next year that would exempt Minnesota Olympians from paying taxes on their prize earnings from the Rio Olympics.

"These Olympic athletes dedicated their talent, time and energy toward representing the United States of America," Garofalo said. "It doesn't seem right that after achieving so much for our country, they are financially penalized upon returning home."

Minnesota has 17 Olympic medalists this year, including four Minnesota Lynx players who came home Monday with gold medals.

Olympic athletes earn $25,000 for winning gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. Garofalo wants to exempt athletes from state taxes on the value of their medal, as well as their winnings. Citing current commodity prices, Garofalo says a gold medal is worth $600, a silver is worth $300 and bronze $4.

He also would like to provide a state tax credit equal to what taxes they would pay to the federal government for their earnings. "We don't want Olympians from Minnesota to have to pawn their Olympic medal to pay the tax bill," Garofalo said.