Posted: 05/30/15 17:33
by Dave Mindeman
The DFL legislators on the Transportation Committee have put forward a letter to Governor Dayton, released to the House GOP, proposing a strong compromise bill for Transportation that would hopefully be considered for special session.
The DFLers dropped their plans for a sales tax on the price of gas. The leaders propose the more traditional per gallon gas tax, adding a dime to the current tax, cutting projected revenue from this source by one-third. The new DFL plan would replace this lost revenue by agreeing to a House Republican idea to dedicate the sales tax on auto parts to roads and bridges. The DFL plan would seek to ensure that this is made permanent with a change to the state constitution.
This incorporates the major components of both the House and Senate revenue plans while reducing the gas tax proposal and bringing in the House GOP proposal of dedicated sales tax revenue.
Since the incorporation of the GOP part of this would require taking money from the general fund and a probable hole in the next budget, the DFL Senate is offering a major concession to move transportation forward.
In addition, the proposal proposes a .25% Metro tax for transit. A transportation need that the House GOP proposal ignores and which puts several transit projects at risk.
Considering the impasse that is already developing on the basic budget issues, this transportation proposal will probably get tabled.
But let's be clear, the Democratic Senate has made the offer for an area that Greater MN wants action on. If the House GOP refuses to move again on this important Greater MN need, I hope that the outstate groups will be clear about that understanding.
If we are going to wait on transportation needs for another year and try to negotiate these difficult issues in an election year, the problem in movement is clearly emanating from the GOP.
Dems are offering an opportunity, they are willing to meet it halfway... where will the House GOP be on this?