Hello from the State Capitol,
Minnesota House leadership has completed its task of approving a budget for the next two year budget cycle. With $12 billion in tax increases over the next for years, I believe it is far too costly for Minnesotans.
ENORMOUS GAS TAX INCREASE APPROVED
This week House Democrats approved their transportation finance bill which increases the gas tax by 20 cents per gallon – a 70% increase – and in total raises taxes by more than $4 billion dollars over four years.
In addition to the 20 cent per gallon increase which would give Minnesota the fourth highest gas tax in the country, the House Democrat 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 dollars.
The bill also transfers statutorily dedicated auto parts sales tax funds — $417 million in 2020-21 – into the general fund, and then requires a significant amount of the gas tax increase to refill those transferred funds. This reverses major investments the legislature made during the last biennium to fund road and bridge infrastructure without a gas tax increase.
This tax increase would impact everyone from the rich to the very poor. Lower income workers and seniors on fixed incomes would be hit the hardest because they have less money to spend to begin with.
This is simply not right to do this!
Remember, last session we made a serious investment into our roads and bridges without raising taxes. In the face of a $1 billion surplus, there’s no reason to raise taxes on anyone or force drivers to pay 20-cent per gallon more.
I hope this bill will come back in better shape - and without a gas tax increase - after conference committee work with the Senate so I can vote for it!
PROBLEMS WITH HOUSE BUDGET
As I’ve shared before, the entire budget was passed through a series of comprehensive bills that fund all areas of state government. These omnibus bills can contain hundreds of provisions, some you might like, and some you might dislike. In the end, I opposed many of the Democrats budget bills.
$12 billion in tax increases in simply unreasonable. Governor Walz’s own administration found that the plan would hit low and middle income families the hardest. Along with the 20-cent per gallon gas tax increase, the budget also increases health care costs. Inexplicably, it also funds a pay raise for lawmakers and cuts $68 million from nursing homes.
Hopefully a compromise budget plan that will be worked out by House and Senate negotiators will be more acceptable and it will be something I can support.
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
Thursday was recognized as the National Day of Prayer. A ceremony was held on the front steps of the State Capitol.
The National Day of Prayer is celebrated on the first Thursday of May. This day is designated by the United States Congress when people are asked: “to turn to God in prayer and meditation." I was pleased to join lawmakers and fellow Minnesotans at this event.
Have a good weekend,