It is the final week of session and the Senate, House, and Governor have been meeting around the clock to come to an agreement on a budget that will set the state’s budget for the next two years. Unfortunately, progress on this deal has been halted due to the Governor and Senate’s insistence on raising the gas tax.
Not only is this tax unnecessary due to the state’s current $1.9 billion surplus, it is extremely unpopular with the vast majority of Minnesotans. The Governor himself, as recently as 8 months ago, called the gas tax an “unfair and regressive tax.” I agree. His proposed gas tax will disproportionally hurt seniors on fixed incomes, middle and lower income Minnesotans, and those of us in Greater Minnesota that have to travel long distance to get to work.
What’s more, the Governor’s own Office of Management and Budget released a report stating that the state’s surplus and economic turnaround is due in large part to, “Lower gas prices are comparable to a tax cut, freeing up disposable income for spending on non-gasoline goods and services” and that it has meant “big savings for consumers.”
Why would we want to make gas more expensive for Minnesotans and put our economic recovery in jeopardy?
Our transportation plan stands in contrast to the Governor’s gas tax proposal by investing $7 billion in our roads and bridges over the next 10 years without raising taxes.
Simply put, Minnesotans do not want another gas tax and we can pay for our transportation needs without raising new revenue.
I am hopeful that the Governor and Senate will put aside their gas tax proposal and come to the negotiating table ready to get to work and finish the job we were sent to St. Paul to accomplish.