Some bills are not good news for taxpayers
The contents of the bills that will fund state government over the next two years are beginning to move forward in the Minnesota House. And from my perspective some of them are not good news for taxpayers.
We have already begun to work up the House transportation finance proposal. There are a lot of things in this bill that I find concerning.
Obviously the increased costs for Minnesota’s drivers are going to add up quickly. Much like Governor Walz, House Democrats have proposed a 70% increase in the gasoline tax, or at least 20-cents per gallon. While this is troublesome, it’s worth noting that about half of that increase is being put in place just to cover the loss of general revenue that is being pulled out of transportation and going back into the general fund to increase spending elsewhere.
In other words, House Democrats want to take $420 million that is allocated for roads and bridges, use that money to fund other state government programs, and force you to pay 20-cents per gallon more at the pump to make up for that lost transportation money.
Our omnibus taxes bill is scheduled to be published on April 8. We’ll then hear testimony and try to write some amendments to improve the proposal so we’ll see where that ends up.
One final note, I am also a member of the conference committee for the “hands free” bill. The approved legislation would allow voice activated cell phone use only in Minnesota, along with one-touch or headsets.
What we’re trying to do is figure out the best way to change the behavior and thinking about what distracted driving is. Staring at your cell phone behind the wheel is dangerous, not only for those inside the vehicle but outside who are depending on the person driving without distraction. Our goal in this conference committee is to come up with a plan that will be approved by both bodies, and ensure that more people will keep their eyes on the road and not on their phone.
I will be sure to update you with any progress we make.
John Petersburg is the state representative for District 24A, which covers Steele and Waseca counties. He lives in Waseca.