ST. PAUL – Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, issued the following statement regarding budget negotiations at the Capitol, specifically as they relate to proposals to raise the state's gas tax:
"We are hoping to reach a breakthrough on a new two-year state budget, but it is disappointing how the Senate and Gov. Mark Dayton continue pushing to raise the gas tax.
"This comes at a time when Minnesota has a surplus of $2 billion and growing. We just received word state revenue is up another $260 million since the February forecast and officials say lower gas prices are a key reason for the growth, freeing up more disposable income for other types of spending much like a tax cut.
"The House has shown we can make a long-term commitment to improving our roads and bridges without raising taxes and that is the position I will continue to advocate. It does not make sense to me to raise taxes on gasoline, which would hurt lower-income earners in Greater Minnesota the hardest. The message we are sending to budget negotiation leaders – the Senate and the governor in particular – is to get rid of the gas-tax idea and move on."