Gov.’s Budget Includes 20 Cent Gas Tax Hike, Republican Says Plan’s Bad For Rural MN
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz releases his budget proposal. It includes a 20 cent gas tax hike to pay for road and bridge projects.
A car with a 15 gallon tank would see prices go up $3 for every fill-up under the plan.
The Democrat says it’s important to improve roads and bridges since some roads in the state are ranked D minus and Minnesota is ranked 27th in investment in infrastructure.
To help offset the cost of a higher gas tax, the budget has a working family tax credit for families with three or more dependents. The governor’s office says 44,000 Minnesotans could see an average tax cut of more than $220 per year.
“You get what you pay for. If folks want good roads, if folks want to know it’s an investment because no one else is offering up how they’re going to do this, because, keep in mind, I’m done with people promising free stuff without figuring out how they’re going to pay for it,” Walz said.
Republican State Sen. Mark Johnson of East Grand Forks believes a raise in the gas tax is bad for Greater Minnesota. He says the higher prices at the pump will drive up costs on things from groceries to furniture that companies have to ship.
“If you’re on a border city, this is driving business out of those communities into neighboring North Dakota or South Dakota. It’s another thing that gets in the way of people making a life in rural Minnesota,” Johnson said.
Sen. Johnson says a huge non-starter for him in the budget proposal is money to maintain a gun background check system and for courts to process petitions for extreme risk protection orders. It would allow a family member, law enforcement or a county attorney to withhold a person’s guns if they’re deemed a risk. He says those funding measures usually are brought forward in the legislature.
Gov. Walz’s budget also has $70 million on a broadband grant program so all Minnesota households will have high-speed internet access by 2022. Sen. Johnson says improved broadband in rural Minnesota is something he would like to see.