ST. PAUL – House Democrats are expected to approve Monday a transportation bill (H.F. 1555) which increases the gas tax by 20 cents per gallon – a 70-percent increase – and in total raises taxes by more than $4 billion over four years.
“This doesn’t have to be an either-or situation, where we either raise the gas tax or allow our roads and bridges to suffer,” said Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent. “There are other avenues we can pursue to increase support for roads and bridges without resorting to raising the gas tax, which hits lower earners and people of Greater Minnesota the hardest.”
In addition to the increase of 20 cents per gallon – which would give Minnesota the fourth-highest gas tax in the country – the House Democrats’ transportation bill increases the vehicle registration tax, the metro sales tax, and the new vehicle sales tax will increase taxes on Minnesotans by a combined $2.3 billion.
The bill also transfers statutorily dedicated auto parts sales tax funds – $417 million in 2020-21 – into the general fund. This reverses the major investments House and Senate Republicans made during the last biennium to fund road and bridge infrastructure without a gas tax increase.
“The approach we took last biennium led to a historic investment in transportation without putting an even heavier burden on people who can least afford it,” Swedzinski said. “We should be working to take that breakthrough and make it even better instead of going backward by raising the gas tax at a time we have a $1 billion surplus. Democrats want to eliminate common-sense reform and replace it with a 70-percent increase to our gas tax, making it one of the nation’s most expensive.”