A gas tax increase remains a big sticking-point as Governor Tim Walz and Republicans try to reach agreement on the state budget with under two weeks left in the legislative session. Faribault Republican Senator John Jasinski opposes any gas tax hike. He says, “A lot of people, they look at those numbers, and I guess in my instance I think, for just the gas tax it was about a 400-dollar increase — almost double what I’m paying now.” Jasinski argues the gas tax hits low-income people the hardest.
MN-DOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher responds the governor’s plan increases the Working Family Tax Credit “to make sure that there is an offset of that gas tax: a hundred dollars for an individual head of household, 200 per family.” Jasinski fires back a gas tax increase will drive up businesses’ operating costs, resulting in higher prices for goods and services.
Republicans suggest another round of bonding to pay for more road and bridge projects. MN-DOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher warns that borrowing means the state pays interest. “For time every time we do investment with bonding and don’t pay for it, it’s a dollar-50 that it costs a Minnesotan — whereas cash, a dollar,” she says.