Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said he expects businesses and Republican legislators to suggest a gas tax to him next year.
The governor, a member of the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, made the remarks Friday during an interview with Mary Lahammer on Twin Cities Public TV.
The Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus provided a video clip here.
Hard pass. Again. ✋ pic.twitter.com/SU0QHuNGR2
— Minnesota Senate Republicans (@mnsrc) June 1, 2019
Walz said, ”I fully expect that the business community and Republicans legislators will suggest it to me.”
The full interview is available here. (The gas tax discussion starts around 12 minutes and 6 seconds.)
He said his proposal is not ideological but about needs.
“That’s what the engineers tell us we need,” he said.
It was obvious to him during negotiations that “Republicans weren’t going to do a single penny,” he said.
When asked if he would revisit the tax next year, Walz made the remark about opponents coming to him.
The reaction was overwhelmingly skeptical on the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus’ Facebook video post here.
In February, Center of the American Experiment criticized Walz’ planned tax hike of 20 cents per gallon of gas.
So, even with a projected budget surplus of $1.5 billion, Gov. Walz is planning to take more of your money off you.
Walz also wants to raise gas taxes by 20 cents per gallon and increase registration fees and vehicle sales taxes to fund a 10-year, $11 billion transportation plan.
This is a huge hike. As WCCO reports,
Right now, Minnesota’s gas tax ranks right in the middle: Number 28 in the country. It’s on the low end of gas taxes in the Midwest. Raising it by 20-cents a gallon would move Minnesota to the top five in the nation, and cost the average driver $156 a year.
The center calls itself “Minnesota’s leading public policy organization.”
Walz called a special session for the Minnesota Legislature so it could finish passing some of the state’s major budget bills, but some Republicans think a special session could have been avoided, Battleground State News reported.
The Legislature officially adjourned on May 20 after Walz and party leaders had spent most of the prior week in closed-door meetings hashing out details.
Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa), said “there was nothing in the last-hour agreement” that Walz couldn’t have had a week earlier.
“By demanding so much, he lost so much more. As of the Monday deadline, the Democrats had not achieved a single one of their top ten goals,” he added.
Drazkowski thinks that if Walz “had pivoted a week earlier, he could have succeeded.”
Although Walz and the Minnesota House supported the gas tax increase, almost every poll showed public opposition.
Walz’s own Department of Revenue produced researching showing that his tax proposals would hurt the poorest Minnesotans the most, Battleground State News reported.
The Tax Research Division of the Minnesota Department of Revenue released its tax incidence analysis showing the combined increase in tax collections was estimated to be $2.372 billion in 2021, of which $2.104 billion is “borne by Minnesota residents.”
The average increase in total taxes paid would be 6.52 percent, though the increases would be higher for the bottom five income brackets than the top five.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.