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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeff Backer (R)

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Legislative Update (3-27-15)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Dear Neighbor,

It was a busy week at the legislature as legislative Republicans released details of our transportation plan.

Transportation Plan Unveiled

This past Monday, March 23rd, House and Senate Republicans unveiled a comprehensive 10-year transportation project that invests $7 billion in our roads and bridges without raising taxes.

Under our proposal, the State of Minnesota would re-purpose existing revenue into a new fund called the Transportation Stability Fund. The revenue for this fund is already being generated from existing sales taxes on auto parts, the Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax, the rental vehicle tax and the sales tax on rental vehicles.

These accounts will dedicate a combined $3.078 billion over ten years.

This change will bring immediate repair of roads in our communities by dedicating $1.44 billion for county roads and $583 million for municipal roads.

Furthermore, many area towns would have access to the new Small Cities account within this proposal. As part of this initiative, $282 million would be available for street and road repair over the next ten years for communities that have less than 5,000 residents.

In addition to this newly created transportation fund, our proposal uses $1.3 billion in Trunk Highway bonds, $1.2 billion from realigning MNDOT resources, $1.05 billion in General Obligation bonds, and $228 million in General Funds.

Our plan is a contrast from Governor Dayton and Democrats’ plan which relies on a 6.5 percent sales tax on gasoline at the wholesale level. This new tax would come with a minimum 16 cents/gallon increase. If we were to adopt the Governor’s plan, Minnesota’s gas tax would move all the way to the fifth highest in the nation.

Every driver in Minnesota could expect to pay at least $180 more per year and that number would increase every time gas prices went up.

Furthermore, a recent KSTP-TV poll found that 75 percent of respondents favored our approach to funding roads and bridge improvements.

I am hopeful that Governor Dayton and Democrats will soon see that their proposed gas tax increase is not the right approach in addressing the state’s crumbling road and bridge infrastructure. Simply put, Minnesota families cannot afford another gas tax increase.

In all, our proposal would repair or replace 15,500 lane miles of roads and 330 bridges statewide, all without raising anyone’s taxes.

Now, Minnesotans have a choice between a smart budgeting plan that dedicates existing transportation taxes to roads and bridges without a tax increase and a plan that raises the gas tax by at least 16 cents a gallon.

Constituent Visits

If you ever have issues viewing the photos that are included in these updates, you can click here and read the weekly update (pictures included) on my House member page.

On Wednesday I spoke with superintendents from local school districts. Rick Bleichner of Herman, Phil Grant of Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Dan Posthumus of Wheaton, and Greg Schmidt of Minnewaska Area School. I appreciate them taking the time to visit St. Paul.

On Tuesday afternoon I visited with Laura Thielke from the University of Minnesota Morris about workplace topics. Laura was visiting as part of AFSCME’s day at the Capitol. Thanks for stopping by!

This past Tuesday I met with Bob Johnson from Hoffman about health care needs and issues in our district.

Staying in Touch

If there are any community events that are taking place in the district that you would like to make me aware of or advertise in my weekly update, please contact my office.

Also, please take a moment to complete my 2015 legislative survey. You can complete the survey by visiting my House member page and clicking on the survey link under the "Feedback Wanted" tab on the right side of the page.

If you are planning on being in St. Paul this session, please feel free to contact my office by phone at 651-296-4929 or via email at rep.jeff.backer@house.mn to set up an appointment. I would love to meet with you and talk about ways we can make Minnesota better. Again, it is an honor and privilege to represent you and your family for the next two years. I am here to be YOUR voice in St. Paul and it is a responsibility that I take very seriously.

 

Thanks and talk to you soon,

Jeff

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