Minnesota Senate Republicans repeatedly said “no” to Democrats’ push for a gas tax increase before passing a major transportation funding package last night (Thurs). Alexandria Republican Bill Ingebrigtsen argues tax increases are not needed, given the state’s 1.65-billion-dollar budget surplus. “We’re enjoying this tremendous amount of money that we have in the bank, and let’s not forget where we got that money,” he says. Governor Mark Dayton contends a gas tax increase is the only way to raise enough money to address Minnesota’s long-term transportation needs.
North Mankato D-F-Ler Nick Frentz says the G-O-P plan “raids the General Fund, where we pay for things like health care and education and the things Minnesotans want and need. Therefore I support an amendment that seeks to raise the gas tax.” Hutchinson Republican Scott Newman responds,”I simply believe that if we make our government run more efficiently,… that we will be able to very easily pay for the transportation needs that we have.”)