A bill to increase gas taxes is moving forward despite a warning from Governor Mark Dayton.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A bill to increase gas taxes is moving forward despite a warning from Governor Mark Dayton.
The bill would inject $1 billion in badly needed highway funds over the next several years by creating a new 5 percent sales tax on gasoline in addition to the fixed gas tax that already exists.
"We're really falling behind in those investments we need to make," said bill sponsor Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis). "This pegs the gas tax to the price like we do for all other goods and services."
The bill has passed a MN House and Senate committee and must pass two more before heading to the floor for a vote. So far, voting has split right down party lines with not a single Republican vote.
"It just puts too much pressure on working class families that are trying to deal with their day to day expenses," said Sen. John Pederson (R-St. Cloud). "Raising the gallon of gas by 12 to 15 cents overnight is not what Minnesotans want right now."
Sen. Pederson is the ranking Republican on the Senate Transportation Committee and believes road funding should come from existing revenue sources, especially on the heels of a $2 billion tax hike last year.
In a recent interview with the Pioneer Press, Governor Mark Dayton warned that the timing may be off.
"I have thought all along that this requires a long discussion in a non-election year," he said. "Next year would be a better time to deal with this."
Despite the bill's dismal chances of passing this year, Sen. Dibble is pushing forward anyway.
"We just need to keep the momentum going to have this conversation," said Sen. Dibble.