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.
“The gas tax hurts low- and middle-income earners and Greater Minnesota residents the most,” said Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston. “Raising it another 20 cents is a non-starter for me. There also is a troubling amount of waste, fraud and abuse that could be trimmed in our state to make sure we are making the most of the tax dollars citizens already are paying instead of just going back to shake them down for more.”
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 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.
“It concerns me that Democrats are creating a false choice between either raising the gas tax or allowing our roads and bridges to crumble,” Green said. “We can improve our roads and bridges without tax increases if we hold it up as the priority people say it is. We did exactly that during the last biennium, providing more for transportation by directing the existing sales taxes already paid on the purchases of auto parts to roads and bridges.”