Hello from St. Paul,
A plan that would increase Minnesota’s gas tax by 20-cents per gallon has been sponsored by the Minnesota House Democratic majority and is moving forward.
I find the proposal totally unnecessary. Last session, we approved a law that allows the sales tax dollars collected on auto parts and repairs to be used to fund transportation projects in Minnesota. This amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Under the governor’s plan, this law would disappear and the road and bridge money would be spent permanently in other areas of state government.
If drivers are forced to pay 20-cents per gallon more for gasoline, it will be a 70 percent increase on Minnesota’s current gasoline tax. Forcing drivers to pay more is senseless considering we have a $1 billion surplus and could do more to expand our current law – that dedicates funds to roads and bridges without raising taxes – than massively increase our gas tax.
Military veteran and St. Paul firefighter Randall Bibeau testified before the House pensions committee in favor of my bill, House File 549, allowing veterans to buy back up to 5 years of military service if they are working in a job that falls under PERA, such as a firefighter or law enforcement officer.
Speaking of veterans, I am working closely with the House chairman on a comprehensive proposal that would benefit military and veterans’ affairs. We are finalizing the budget framework and should have something ready to share soon. Similar work is occurring in the Education Finance Division on which I serve.
My “Brooklyn’s Law” proposal awaits a Minnesota House floor debate. This bill would establish a misdemeanor for traffic violations that cause great bodily harm or death to someone. In 2016, 11-year-old Brooklyn Larson died in Chisago County after being struck by a driver who had gone through a stop sign. The driver’s only punishment was a fine for a stop sign violation. I am sponsoring this bill not only to make needed changes to state law, but to honor her memory.
This week, I presented a House resolution to sophomore wrestler Derek Cardinal of Forest Lake, high school a two-time state wrestling champion.
Have a good weekend,