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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

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Legislative Update (3-27-15)

Friday, March 27, 2015

This week, Republicans introduced a comprehensive, future oriented proposal for transportation improvements in Minnesota. The Road and Bridge Act of 2015 invests $7 billion over the next ten years in an effort to repair and replace transportation infrastructure without raising taxes.

As I have traveled around the district, the message from local residents has been clear: fix our roads and bridges, but do so without increasing the already heavy burden on you, the taxpayer. With a $39 billion budget and a nearly $1.9 billion surplus, the majority of Minnesotans agree that we can increase spending on critical transportation improvements without increasing revenue.

Raising taxes should not be the default answer when we discuss how to best address our transportation needs. That is why I am encouraged by the thoughtful approach that we have taken and think that most Minnesotans would agree that our plan offers the best path forward for Minnesota.

Our proposal creates a special fund called the Transportation Stability Fund that redirects proceeds from certain taxes that are already being collected.

For instance, when you purchase a new tail light for your pickup, this money currently goes into the state’s general fund where it can be spent in any number of ways. Our proposal would redirect sales taxes collected on auto parts to this new transportation fund where it would be dedicated to road and bridge improvements.

The same will occur with the existing Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax, sales tax on rental vehicles, and the rental vehicle tax. This new fund and the redirection of these already existing revenue streams would bring the state $3.078 billion over ten years to improve transportation infrastructure.

In addition to the dedicated funds provided by the Transportation Stability Fund, our proposal uses a portion of the state’s budget surplus, Trunk Highway and state bonds, general fund dollars, and money saved through realigning MNDOT resources to make these much needed investments in our state’s roads and bridges.

Our plan is in contrast to Governor Dayton and Democrats’ transportation plan that would impose a 6.5 percent tax on gasoline at the wholesale level which would cost drivers a minimum of 16 cents/gallon at the pump. Rural Minnesota drivers could expect to pay at least $180 more a year – and that number would increase as the price of gas rises.

Simply put, Minnesotans cannot afford another tax increase, considering taxes were raised by nearly $2.1 billion over the last two years.

Minnesotans now have a clear choice between a plan that would repair and replace 15,500 lane miles and 330 bridges without raising taxes or a plan that would impose a $8.65 billion tax that would move Minnesota’s gas tax to the fifth highest in the nation.

We can address our transportation needs and make critical investments in our infrastructure without raising taxes if lawmakers truly prioritize the way government spends your money. That is why I am encouraged by the common sense plan that we have proposed and am looking forward to discussing it with you in the coming weeks.

In District "Office Hours" Tomorrow

I will be hosting an "office hours" event tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, at 9 am to discuss legislative issues.

Feel free to stop by the Caribou Coffee in Baxter located at 15175 Edgewood Drive North, for a cup of coffee and conversation.

Thank you for taking the time to read my update this week. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to communicate with constituents about the issues being debated at the capitol.

Liking” my Facebook page and “following” my Twitter account are both great ways to stay connected with what is going on here in St. Paul.

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 to set up an appointment. It would be an honor to speak with you and discuss ways we can make Minnesota better.