It was a very busy week in Saint Paul this week with the release of the Republican Transportation proposal, as well as the release of the House GOP budget targets, which set spending levels for the 2016-2017 budget.
The Republican transportation plan is a plan that listens to what Minnesotans have been telling us over and over: fix our roads and bridges, but do it without a harmful gas tax increase. The GOP proposal invests $7 billion over 10 years using existing sales tax revenue from things like auto parts, rental vehicles, and vehicle leases, as well as bonding and a portion of the state's budget surplus.
Our plan stands in contrast to the plan put forward by the DFL that raises taxes by a minimum of 16 cents per gallon. Governor Dayton claims that transportation is a priority, but his budget plan proposes to spend all of the $1.869 billion surplus with dedicating one dollar to transportation, and then wants to increase the gas tax in order to pay for his transportation plan. How can you say transportation is a priority when you can't even prioritize money for roads and bridges within the existing $40 billion budget? Minnesotans are tired of hearing that the only answer to improving our roads and bridges is higher taxes.
Our plan presents an outstanding blueprint on how to fund our roads and bridges without a tax increase, and I look forward to discussing the best way forward in the weeks to come.
Budget One of the first steps in crafting our 2016-2017 is the release of our budget targets. The House GOP budget comes in at about $39.9 billion dollars, significantly less than the Governor's proposed budget that totals more than $43 billion. Simply put, government should not be growing at a faster pace than family budgets. Our proposed budget includes more than $2 billion in tax cuts that will primarily be targeted at providing real tax relief for Minnesota families.
We also are aiming to tackle waste within our public health programs, something I have been a vocal advocate for during my time in Saint Paul. A recent audit raised serious concerns about potentially thousands of people who are improperly enrolled on public programs they aren't eligible for. Minnesota has very generous public programs that should be monitored closely to ensure that taxpayers aren't paying for benefits for people who aren't eligible. This could help the state save millions in the long run.
The legislature is on Easter Break next week, so there will be no legislative activity. I look forward to being back home in Glencoe for the week, and hope to see you around. As always, you can reach me at email@example.com, or call 651-296-4229. Staff will be available to answer any phone calls over break.
Have a great weekend, and a blessed Easter,
Glenn Gruenhagen State Representative, District 18B