Friday, March 11th, 2022 –
This past week the House debated a potential Gas Tax Holiday. The bill would have removed the .28c/gal tax on gas at the pump from Memorial Day to Labor Day this year only to help people cope with the high price of gasoline. The House Democrats ultimately defeated the attempt to hear the bill on the floor, but the debate over a Gax Tax Holiday has been rumbling throughout the Capitol.
This past week Gov. Walz himself urged the Chamber to pass a Holiday. Gov. Walz joined five other Democratic governors in calling on Congress to additionally suspend the federal 18-cent per gallon gas tax for the rest of the year. The problem is who pays for it, and with $12 billion in surplus, you’d think that’d be the last thing we are debating. Ultimately where the money comes from will be decided by the Senate.
Why is there a fight?
This past year House democrats allotted $500 million to the Governor from federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. Just this past week six House Democrats proposed this tax holiday; democrats who coincidentally voted or proposed even higher taxes. So House Republicans tried to take the money to pay for the holiday out of the Governor’s secret little coin purse. The debate here is simple: the DFL should have never allowed the Governor to seize funds like that in the first place. The House has sole authority to spend on government funds, not the Governor. By pausing the state's gas tax, Minnesotans would save an estimated $77 million a month or by using the Governor's slush fund a tax holiday till Labor Day.
Gas prices were already on the rise before the US sanctions against Russia. This past week Biden closed the loophole allowing the US to purchase crude oil. This coupled with Biden’s refusal to allow domestic production of fossil fuels, we are seeing prices climb to levels never seen before. Before his latest Executive Order prices had climbed about 60 cents in Minnesota, now they are expected to rise even more. The issue requires bold action, and even the billionaire who made his fortune on renewable energy, Musk, has called for Biden to turn on the taps.
Minnesotans need relief, and slashing a burdensome tax like this is only a start. The Senate GOP has proposed using $3.5 billion of the surplus to cut the lower income tax rate from 5.35% to 2.8%. Senate Republicans have also proposed to exempt all Social Security income from state taxes, using $539 million of the current surplus. Minnesotans don’t just need a few dollars back at the pump; they need substantive reform that puts their money back into their pockets.
State Representative, 31B
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office or me. If you have other needs, please email my Legislative Assistant, Grayson, at Grayson.email@example.com.