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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Thursday, April 20, 2023

ST. PAUL – A comprehensive transportation funding proposal that would raise taxes and fees on Minnesotans by roughly $3.5 billion has been approved in the Minnesota House. State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) opposed the measure.


“At a time when we have a $17 billion budget surplus, it is senseless to raise any tax,” Torkelson said. “Our state has more than enough money to fund all government programs, and Minnesotans that are already struggling to pay their bills should not be forced to pay higher taxes.”


Torkelson said the largest tax increase would be leveled against shoppers in the Metro Area, as $2 billion is expected to be raised through a ¾ of a cent sales tax increase.


But Torkelson added that rural Minnesota residents will also be forced to pay more, as the House majority wants to include a 75-cent delivery tax on items delivered to your home. Residents can expect to pay this tax when they have a pizza delivered or when their Amazon order is dropped off.  


Additional Democrat tax increases include raising the costs of license tab renewals, which will cost Minnesota drivers $736 million, and an increase in the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax (MVST), which would jump from 6.5% to 6.875%, and cost residents more than $215 million.  


Torkelson said the comprehensive transportation proposal did contain legislation he is sponsoring that deals with highway project selections for the Corridors of Commerce funding program. He said the goal of his bill is to modify the selection process to distribute more projects in rural Minnesota. While Torkelson said he was pleased to have worked in bipartisan fashion to have his bill included in the transportation proposal, the overwhelming and unnecessary tax increases that were included ultimately forced him to vote against the proposal.


“What people need right now is tax relief, not tax increases,” Torkelson concluded.