Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week, Governor Dayton released his budget proposal for the next two years. Of particular note is his proposal to raise at least $9 billion in new taxes over the next ten years, this time on gasoline and an additional sales tax in the Twin Cities. The new gas tax is in the form of a new sales tax charged at the wholesale level which, as near as I can tell, will result in a extremely large 55 percent gas tax increase based on current gas prices and the existing 28.5 cent per gallon state tax. As the price of gas goes up, so will the tax, unfortunately at the exact time when families can least afford to pay it.
By my estimate, this new gas tax, if implemented, would vault Minnesota’s gas tax rate from #20 in the country to #4. If the price of gas goes up to $4.00 per gallon, Minnesota would be #1 or #2 in the tax rate charged for gasoline.
Any increase would potentially cripple our border retailers of gasoline who rely on Wisconsin residents to support their business (Wisconsin currently charges 2.4 cents more than Minnesota). It would also hurt Chisago County residents, especially those who commute to the Twin Cities each morning.
Additionally, the governor’s current spending proposal will increase the all-funds budget by $6.9 billion.
I do applaud Governor Dayton’s focus on important budget areas like educating students and repairing our roads and bridges. I share those concerns and believe they are two of our top priorities. But I also believe there are still too many misplaced priorities in this bill while ignoring less expensive ways of solving these problems. As a legislator, I am tasked with managing the state’s budget efficiently while being a good steward of your tax dollars.
As our economy continues to recover from recession with more people going back to work, families finding more in their budget and our overall economy improving, we shouldn’t unnecessarily increase government spending or take more money from Minnesota taxpayers, especially when other options exist to fund our state’s priorities.
In the coming weeks, legislators will be hearing more about the governor’s budget recommendations in committee hearings. The House Majority will announce their budget targets for each finance committee later in session after the February forecast is released at the end of this month.
If you have thoughts or comments about the governor’s budget proposal, please share them with me. Your input is valuable!
Please stop by the capitol or send me an e-mail is I can be of assistance to you and your family.