Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With less than a week until adjournment, the House, Senate and Governor Dayton are moving toward final negotiations on a number of key issues including taxes, transportation and other supplemental budget bills.
Over and over again from people in my district, I hear that improving our transportation infrastructure is a top priority and we must have a roads and bridges bill this year. On Monday, Governor Dayton came out with two transportation proposals, one with a scaled back gas tax and one with a substantial tab fee increase. Working to meet Governor Dayton in the middle, House Republicans introduced a common sense counter offer today.
The Republican compromise utilizes key components of the governor's transportation plan, as well as the Road and Bridge Act that the House passed last year. In all, transportation would be funded at $600 million annually, providing for $6 billion in transportation funding over the next decade.
Included in the plan is $300 million that would come from the House Republican plan to use existing transportation-related taxes like auto parts and rental cars, and place that into a dedicated transportation fund. The remaining half comes from proposals made by Governor Dayton including $200 million from trunk highway and general obligation bonds and $100 million from modifications to the tab fee schedule.
Absent from our plan is funding for Southwest Light Rail. With all sides agreeing that roads and bridges are a priority, we believe state leaders can negotiate on what they want most and where we are closest before moving onto more controversial issues like a train in Minneapolis.
Additionally, in an effort to move closer to the end of session compromise, we also proposed joint budget targets including $450 million for tax relief and an increased bonding bill of $800 million (up from $600 million).
We have a number of vital road and bridge projects in Isanti and Chisago counties, and I am hopeful that we will be able to come to a compromise on transportation soon and pass a bill before we adjourn. While no one ever likes everything in a compromise, I think this is a common sense approach that brings all sides to the middle.
I will keep you updated on bills and the latest news at the Capitol as we near adjournment on May 23.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family on a matter of state government. I am here to serve you!