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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Nathan Nelson (R)

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. State lawmakers returned to St. Paul following the Easter/Passover break and began discussions on budget bills brought forward by the House majority.


Many of us anticipated that their proposals would be heavy on tax increases. But we were not expecting to see the tax and fee hikes in the transportation area, especially since none of these proposals were debated in the transportation committee before the deadline.


Yet that was the surprise unveiled by House Democratic leadership this week, with a transportation budget plan containing more than $1.5 billion in tax and fee hikes over the next four years.  


The proposal contains a $363 million gas tax increase, a $916 million sales tax increase to fund light rail and other transit, a $120 million Motor Vehicle Sales Tax increase, a $149 million registration tax increase, and a luxury vehicle registration tax increase. It also includes funding for passenger rail to Milwaukee/Chicago.


In all, the House majority’s comprehensive transportation funding proposal included 9 provisions that had never been previously introduced, and multiple bills that had been previously introduced but had not received hearings.


Let’s be clear. All of us want and expect good and safe roads. But when Minnesota is looking at a $1.6 billion budget surplus, and could see another $8 billion arriving in federal aid due to the pandemic, there is no reason to force drivers to pay more at the pump or to make it more costly to own a car.


There is little doubt that we can continue improving our roads and bridges with existing funds. The state does not need to take even more out of your wallets. Minnesota should be looking to prioritize our transportation needs with the money it already has instead of asking drivers to pay more.