Archive for the ‘Lobbyists’ Category
To: Kurt Daudt, David Hann
From: Gary Gross
Subject: Transportation negotiations
Considering the fact that rank-and-file Minnesotans have stated emphatically that they won’t cheerfully accept another tax increase, GOP leadership in the Minnesota legislature shouldn’t attempt to strike a deal with Gov. Dayton and DFL leadership that includes a gas tax increase. Period. Tax increases are totally off the table. If Gov. Dayton wants to throw another hissy fit, that’s fine. The GOP should record Gov. Dayton’s hissy fit and upload it to YouTube.
There are some things Speaker Daudt and Sen. Hann should forever keep in mind during these negotiations. Here are the things that they shouldn’t forget, in order of importance:
- The last time the DFL pushed a gas tax increase, they promised it would solve our underfunding of roads and bridges for the next 20 years. That was 2008. It’s 2015 and they’re back, this time insisting that a significantly bigger tax increase is needed. Don’t double down on the DFL’s failure.
- The GOP plan is popular. Insist that the DFL adopt the GOP plan or face a major advertising campaign from now through Election Day. Tell them that every vulnerable DFL legislator in the House and Senate will be targeted with advertising that tells their constituents that they voted for a gas tax increase.
- You’re building trust with Republican activists and independents by being straight shooters. Don’t throw that away by agreeing to a transportation compromise that includes a gas tax increase. Accepting a tax increase will be seen as a betrayal. That will lead to Republicans losing the House and the DFL holding the Senate in 2016. (Remember the disaster the last time the DFL controlled the House and Senate and held the governorship?)
- Keep pressure on the DFL by addressing the press anytime they’re available. Remind them that the DFL’s last transportation bill was a failure. Remind them, too, that 75% of Minnesotans agreed with the GOP transportation plan and that 51% of Minnesotans rejected the DFL’s plan.
It’s important to constantly switch the conversation away from transportation. Constantly drag the conversation back to fixing Minnesota’s potholed roads and highways. Outside the Twin Cities, it’s difficult to find a dozen transit advocates. Outside the Twin Cities, it’s impossible to find a person who’s happy with Minnesota’s potholed roads.
Play to those facts. Portray the DFL as who they are — the political party who listen to the special interests and the lobbyists while reminding them that a) Republicans listened to their constituents before the session started and b) Republicans are still listening to their constituents by refusing to raise gas taxes.
I’ve written two posts on Brian McDaniel’s statements on the transportation bill. (This is the link to my post about McDaniel’s appearance on Almanac. This is the link for my post about McDaniel’s appearance on At Issue.) In those posts, I expressed my bewilderment with McDaniel’s statements pushing for a compromise on the DFL’s gas tax proposal.
This information from Minnesota’s Campaign Finance Disclosure Board dropped the pieces of this transportation puzzle into place:
McDaniel didn’t state that he’s a paid lobbyist for the organization pushing the DFL’s gas tax. He didn’t disclose this conflict of interest when he appeared on Almanac. McDaniel didn’t disclose this important information when he appeared on At Issue.
It’s disgusting that McDaniel didn’t disclose this information. It’s one thing to speak in favor of legislation as a private citizen. It’s another to speak in favor of legislation like you’re a private citizen when you’re actually a paid lobbyist.
It’s standard procedure to disclose that you’re a paid lobbyist for an organization that’s pushing a policy that you’re discussing. To do otherwise is dishonest and corrupt. When others have been caught in that situation before, they’ve started their first sentence by saying “In the interest of full disclosure.” Then the viewers understand that the lobbyist has a dog in that particular hunt.
At this point, Republicans should tell Mr. McDaniel that they won’t listen to his pitch anymore because he isn’t transparent in his dealings with legislators. More importantly, Republicans should reject all calls for a gas tax increase because it’s a failed policy. The DFL tried that approach in 2008. It failed miserably. Because it failed miserably in 2008, the DFL is back asking for a bigger gas tax increase this year.
Move MN, the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, the DFL and Gov. Dayton must be desperate if they’re pushing the gas tax without telling us that they’re sending out paid lobbyists to act like regular citizens speaking out on this issue.
Finally, Republicans should stand firmly against the gas tax increase. They’re on the winning side of this issue.
Last week, I wrote this post about Brian McDaniel’s statements about whether Republicans should give into the DFL’s plans to raise the gas tax. Last week, McDaniel suggested that Republicans should give in on raising the gas tax in exchange for a few shiny trinkets in a larger tax bill. One of the things I highlighted in that point was that raising the gas tax was terrible policy.
In 2008, the DFL raised the gas tax by a nickel a gallon. At the time, they said that would help rebuild Minnesota’s crumbling roads and bridges, “which have been neglected” for years. The DFL promised that raising the gas tax by a nickel a gallon would provide the additional revenue needed to fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges. Now it’s 2015 and the DFL is back insisting that we need to raise the gas tax by 16 cents/gallon to finally fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges. This time, the DFL is insisting that Minnesota’s roads and bridges have been neglected for 25 years.
What the DFL hasn’t talked about is why they didn’t fix transportation when they had a DFL governor and solid majorities in the House and Senate. They insist now that “Minnesota’s roads and bridges have been neglected for 25 years.” That means that they’d been neglected for 23 years in 2013.
This week, McDaniel appeared on At Issue’s Face-Off. Unfortunately, he was singing the same song. Apparently, he hasn’t figured it out that a terrible policy that doesn’t fix the problem is worthless. It’s time for McDaniel to pull his head out of his arse and actually support plans that fix problems.
What’s worse is that McDaniel said that both parties have robust plans to fix the problem. That’s BS. The DFL has submitted a bill but they haven’t passed it. Until the DFL passes their proposal, I’ll think that the DFL proposal is slick-sounding DFL happy talk. Slick-sounding DFL happy talk plus $1,000,000 is worth $1,000,000, not a penny more.
McDaniel is part of the problem vexing St. Paul. He’s too spineless to tell the DFL that their proposal is worthless. That isn’t opinion. It’s verified fact based on the failure of the 2008 Transportation Bill. It’s time McDaniel threw that in the DFL’s face and demanded that they defend the DFL’s failed transportation policies. Ceding as fact that the DFL plan has merit is ceding defeat.
Apparently, McDaniel is more interested in playing nice than he’s interested in fighting for good policies. That’s wrong. Fighting for solutions that improve families’ lives is right. What’s wrong is giving into the DFL’s failed policies in the name of compromise is foolishness. In fact, it’s counterproductive.
Settling for counterproductive policies that don’t fix problems isn’t a virtue. It’s disgusting.
Friday night on Almanac’s Roundtable, Republican lobbyist Brian McDaniel suggested that Republicans should give into the DFL’s transportation tax increases in exchange for other tax relief. First, that’s defeatist thinking. Next, it’s betraying the trust between the people of Minnesota and the Republican Party. Third, it’s terrible policy.
Caving on the DFL’s plethora of transportation tax increases means caving on a fight Minnesotans want Republicans to win. The latest KSTP-SurveyUSA poll showed 75% of Minnesotans supporting the GOP plan of not raising transportation taxes. That poll showed only 18% of Minnesotans supporting the DFL’s transportation tax increases. That’s because Minnesotans of all political stripes oppose transportation tax increases. I’m certain that people that vehemently oppose a transportation tax increase wouldn’t support a $13,000,000,000 transportation tax increase.
Minnesotans spoke clearly in that poll on what they don’t want in this year’s transportation plan. They didn’t speak with timidity. They spoke with clarity and conviction. It’s impossible to mistake the message they sent. To their credit, Republicans put together a plan that Minnesotans called for. They said no to the DFL’s transportation tax increases. Republicans said no to tax increases that increase funding for transit projects that serve hundreds of people a day.
Republicans said yes to a new plan that will work. Republicans said yes to stable transportation funding. They said yes to the Transportation Stability Fund. Unlike the DFL’s failed Transportation Bill of 2008, the Transportation Stability Fund will fund Minnesota’s priorities.
Let’s remember that the DFL promised that the DFL’s Transportation Bill of 2008 would fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges for the next quarter century. Instead, the DFL Transportation Bill of 2008 failed within 5 years. Why would anyone trust the DFL with a history of failure like that?
Minnesotans want their roads widened and their potholes filled. They aren’t imploring politicians to fund more light rail projects. It’s time that Republicans totally reject the DFL’s plan. Compromise is the right response when multiple plans have something positive to contribute to the problem. There’s nothing in the DFL plan that fixes Minnesota’s potholed roads. The chief feature in the DFL’s plan is the DFL’s latest attempt to lift Minnesotans’ wallets.
Voting for a plan that doesn’t fix Minnesota’s roads or fill Minnesota’s potholes isn’t compromise. It’s total capitulation.
It’s time Republicans highlighted the fact that the DFL’s transportation policies have failed before. Republicans should remind people of that fact dozens of times a day. In fact, what House and Senate Republicans should do is tell vulnerable DFL members that they’ll target vulnerable DFL legislators in swing districts if they vote for a transportation plan that includes a transportation tax increase.
It’s time Republicans kept their promises. Further, it’s time Republicans went on the offensive. It’s time the DFL paid a high political price for their failed policies. That time is right now.
Wherever Vin Weber goes, the kiss of death comes with him. This Washington Post article says that Weber has signed onto Jeb Bush’s “all-but-certain bid for the Republican presidential nomination”:
Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman and top policy adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, is assisting Jeb Bush’s all-but-certain bid for the Republican presidential nomination, adding yet another high-powered strategist to the former Florida governor’s political circle. Weber confirmed his move Tuesday, as did a Bush aide, after several GOP officials said Weber was working behind the scenes to win Bush support among influential donors and conservative intellectuals.
“My message to conservatives has been: this is the conservative Bush,” Weber said in a phone interview. “I remember when his brother first ran, and he was a fine president. But at the time, most conservatives around the country said it’s too bad because Jeb is the real conservative in the family. I’m reminding my friends about those conversations.”
Jeb might be the most conservative of the Bushes. As Florida’s governor, he implemented some genuinely conservative reforms. Since going national, however, Jeb’s taken on a leftist tilt, starting with his support for Common Core, which most movement conservatives consider the ultimate deal-breaker for GOP presidential candidates.
In recent weeks, Weber said he and other Bush allies have been informally meeting with skeptical leaders on the right to talk through Bush’s gubernatorial record, touting his work on “educational choice and taxes and spending.” Their goal is to scrape away the notion that Bush is a political moderate, a notion that has become a barnacle on his potential candidacy.
Vin Weber knows that Jeb Bush’s chances at being the nominee shrink rapidly if he’s tagged with the moderate label. Bush’s stand on Common Core is close to a deal-breaker. Bush’s position on immigration isn’t noticeably different from John McCain’s or Lindsey ‘Gramnesty’ Graham’s position on amnesty. Bush’s statement at a CEO conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal that Republicans have to be willing to “lose the primary to win the general election” turned lots of people off. John McCain threw conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, under the bus in 2008. His defeat was the worst defeat a Republican presidential nominee has suffered since Barry Goldwater’s defeat at the hands of LBJ in 1964.
Jeb Bush’s disastrous statement won’t help his cause. Frankly, it’s a miscalculation. You can’t tell conservatives they’re wrong, then expect them to support you in the general election.
During Romney’s campaigns for the White House in 2008 and 2012, Weber served as a senior policy hand, organizing meetings with think-tank specialists on foreign and domestic issues, and keeping tabs on conservative concerns.
There’s the proof that Weber is the GOP’s kiss of death, the GOP’s equivalent of Bob Shrum or Bob Beckel.
Terry Stone’s LTE highlights what’s wrong with how transportation issues get settled. Here’s what happens that inevitably leads to chaos:
Currently, state transportation planning is done by various counties, cities and the Met Council. Then the Metropolitan Airport Commission, the Port of Duluth, the Port of St. Paul and a slug of lobbying groups chime in. Minnesota Department of Transportation and the University of Minnesota have their own ideas and the Legislature has theirs. The federal government uses money to push its own agenda. Intelligent planning for efficient pipelines and safe, efficient railroad infrastructure are largely left to the private sector.
When the transportation suggestions from this gaggle of transportation planners hit the Legislature, the lobbyists descend upon St. Paul like a hungry horde of locusts. Frequently, the special interests with the most effective lobbyists end up with the transportation projects they want.
What could possibly go wrong with so many people wanting their slice of the transportation pie? This isn’t a failure of too few dollars to meet Minnesota’s transportation needs. It’s that there’s too few dollars to fund the special interests’ wish list items and too little time spent prioritizing Minnesota’s transportation needs.
Why isn’t the DFL putting the highest priority on fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges? Why is the DFL paying any attention to increasing transit funding? What proof do we have that transit ridership is increasing dramatically?
The DFL had complete control of Minnesota government in 2013 and 2014. They could have created a state planning agency to develop a plan for building and funding transportation intelligently. Instead, they chose the politically expedient status quo. Now we are being herded and asked to believe that only massive tax increases can allow Minnesota to perform a core function of government; building and maintaining roads and bridges.
I’ll just add that we’re being railroaded into thinking that our transportation needs have dramatically increased since the DFL held total control of government in 2013-2014. In 2008, Steve Murphy pushed through a massive tax increase that was supposed to solve this problem. At the time, Sen. Murphy bragged that he wasn’t “hiding anything. There’s lots of taxes” in his bill.
At the time, the DFL, with Sen. Murphy leading the way, told Minnesota that our roads and bridges were crumbling and only a massive tax increase could fix the situation. It’s 6 years later and the DFL is telling us that our roads and bridges are crumbling and only a massive tax increase will fill the potholes and fix Minnesota’s bridges.
When I went back to my original post about Sen. Murphy’s quote, I noticed something that I’d forgotten. Sen. Murphy wanted the gas tax increased, then indexing the gas tax with the CPI. Before another step is taken, the first thing that needs to happen is determine what Minnesota’s transportation needs are. I’m totally disinterested in what’s included in the lobbyists’ wish lists. I’m just interested Minnesota’s roads being in good repair and Minnesota’s bridges being safe.
This is great advice:
It’s time to think twice before buying into this transportation panic scenario. The Minnesota House has a thoughtful, calm plan to fund roads and bridges without raising a dime of new taxes. The plan deserves our careful consideration.
The DFL’s manufactured transportation crisis should be ignored. The DFL had the opportunity to fix Minnesota’s highways and bridges last spring when they controlled all of the levers of political power. They didn’t get it done. In fact, they adjourned several days before the constitutional deadline.
It’s time to focus solely on roads and bridges. Everything else is a nicety.
A ton of research highlighted Charting the Future’s deceptions. CtF isn’t Chancellor Rosenstone’s vision for MnSCU. It’s a collaboration of major corporations through the Minnesota Business Partnership, a powerful trade organization (MHTA), a Minnesota-based consulting firm (McKinsey & Co.) and a well-connected former Minnesota politician (Margaret Anderson-Kelliher). Mostly, it’s the work of McKinsey & Company under the title of the Itasca Project.
First, McKinsey & Company isn’t “New York-based” like Chancellor Rosenstone described them as. Here’s the truth:
Based on this map, McKinsey & Co. is a Minneapolis-based consulting firm. Further, MHTA is tied into CtF. Here’s a little information on MHTA:
The group identified a four-part strategy:
- Align academic offerings with workforce needs
- Foster an ecosystem of research and innovation
- Form new collaborations across higher education to optimize system-wide intellectual assets and efficiency
- Graduate more students with the foundational and technical skills needed to drive Minnesota’s prosperity
First, government bureaucracies don’t “form new collaborations” to “optimize system-wide intellectual assets and efficiency.” It’d be great if they did but bureaucracies don’t do those things unless they’re forced by the changing of state statutes.
That raises red flags. If CtF’s goal isn’t to make MnSCU more efficient, what is CtF’s goal? Is there an ulterior motive behind CtF? If there is an ulterior motive driving CtF, what is it? According to IFO’s letter to Dr. Rosenstone, the savings from CtF are imaginary:
In the past decade, MnSCU has spent money by the tens of millions on IT consultants that claimed they would create efficiencies that would result in efficiencies for students — student tuitions still continued to skyrocket. The only savings we have seen for students in recent years came from the legislative buy down of tuition rates.
When lobbyists, corporations and consultants put a plan together, nothing good will come of it.
According to this webpage, Margaret Anderson Kelliher is the president & CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association, aka the MHTA. She’s also the vice-chair of the MnSCU Board of Trustees Executive Committee.
In other words, McKinsey wasn’t hired by MnSCU to implement CtF. They were hired by MnSCU to create, then implement, CtF. That’s definitely a significant deception.
I didn’t have high hopes for CtF prior to this research. I have less faith in it after doing the research.
Technorati: Steve Rosenstone, MnSCU, McKinsey and Company, Charting the Future, Minnesota High Tech Association, Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, Lobbyists, Minnesota Business Partnership, Inter Faculty Organization
It’s clear that Gov. Dayton’s Tax-the-Rich promise is history:
Minnesota drivers would pay more at the pump and at the Department of Motor Vehicles under a plan formally rolled out by Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday, but he says the money would provide vitally needed improvements to roads, bridges and mass transit in Minnesota.
In 2010, Gov. Dayton harshly criticized Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner’s cigarette tax, saying that Minnesota needed a more progressive tax system. More importantly, where’s the proof that Minnesota’s transit system has a lengthy list of “vitally needed improvements”? I’ll stipulate that Minnesota’s transit lobbyists have a lengthy wish list of transit projects but I won’t stipulate that there’s a lengthy list of transit needs.
It’s indisputable that roads and bridges need fixing. It’s disputable that we need another DFL middle class tax increase to fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges. It’s indisputable fact that the DFL raised taxes and fees by $2.4 billion for the biennium that started on July 1, 2013. It’s indisputable that Gov. Dayton, the DFL and the transit lobbyist wing of the DFL want to raise taxes on the middle class by $1.7 billion for the biennium that starts on July 1, 2015.
That’s more than $4,000,000,000 in tax increases that the DFL wants to punish the middle class with in each biennium. The DFL’s thirst for increasing taxes is insatiable.
Think of it this way. Oil companies took advantage of the fracking boom, which led to a dramatic drop in gas prices. Gas is less than $2.00/gallon, compared with $3.50/gallon before the fracking boom. The free market giveth cheap oil prices. DFL politicians want to make gas more expensive.
In addition to DFL politicians like Gov. Dayton wanting to punish middle class car drivers with higher gas prices and higher taxes, these same DFL politicians want to force outstate Minnesotans to pay for a transit system they don’t want and will never use.
I don’t care about expanding Twin Cities transit options. They’re virtually invisible to me. I want the DFL to stop focusing on transit. I’d rather they focused on what’s important, namely fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges. The top 3 priorities for Minnesota’s politicians should be a) fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges, b) fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges and c) fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges.
Gov. Dayton’s spin is nauseating:
“It takes some political courage” to approve tax increases, he said, which in this case would not only add a new gas tax but also but also raise vehicle license fees, charge $10 more for car registrations and increase a Twin Cities sales tax. He also pledges to find $600 million from the Minnesota Department of Transportation doing things more efficiently.
That’s stunning. When House Republicans offered their proposal, it included a call for greater efficiencies within MnDOT. At the time, Gov. Dayton insisted that the Republicans’ plans were “pure fantasy.” Now that he’s proposing greater efficiency within MnDOT, he’s dropped the mean-spirited accusations.
Further, it doesn’t take political courage to raise taxes. If DFL is behind your name, raising taxes is virtually reflexive. It’s like you can raise taxes without blinking an eyelash. If you’re a Republican, raising taxes doesn’t require courage. It requires a brief bout of insanity.
Gov. Dayton’s latest middle class tax increase is his latest attempt to punish the middle class. Gov. Dayton and the DFL should be ashamed of themselves for inflicting this much punishment on the middle class.
Move MN’s motivation is laid out beautifully on their agenda webpage:
In order to address the challenges in our current transportation system, new funding must:
- Be comprehensive to address, roads, bridges, transit, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
- Equitably balance the transportation needs of Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area.
- Be a long-term, sustainable funding solution that is gimmick-free and dedicated only to fixing transportation.
First, Move MN is part of the DFL. It has an arm’s length relationship from the DFL only because it was first put together by Darin Broton, a DFL activist/operative. This is red flag city:
We are calling on the Minnesota Legislature to pass a comprehensive transportation funding solution in 2015 that requires additional transparency and efficiency for current resources.
Anytime people talk about comprehensive anything, I break into a cold sweat. That’s because comprehensive plans automatically contain things from lobbyists’ wish lists that the public doesn’t care about.
Here’s a radical thought. Let’s focus totally on fixing roads and bridges and expanding highways. As a motorist, that’s all I care about. If the Twin Cities wants trolley cars and light rail corridors, that’s their problem.
Here’s another radical thought. If the Twin Cities or other cities want to build “bike and pedestrian infrastructure”, let them pay for it. I’m betting that building “bike and pedestrian infrastructure” isn’t a priority with people. Cities that want those things can propose tax increases to their citizens to pay for those things.
The we’re-in-this-together sales pitch doesn’t work with me. If Minneapolis wants to spend $500,000 on 10 artistic drinking fountains, that’s their right. It isn’t their right to have taxpayers across the state help pay for those drinking fountains.
Next, let’s stop using inflated numbers to make it look like there’s a funding crisis:
In 2012, the Transportation Finance Advisory Committee projected we needed $250 million a year to “maintain” our state roads and bridges. Today, Gov. Dayton says we need $400 million. In 2012, TFAC projected we needed $210 million a year to build out the Twin Cities transit system. Today, Gov. Dayton says we need $280 million.
For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a 50% increase in costs over 2 years. Actually, it’s a 47.8% increase but what’s 2.2% amongst friends, right?
Finally, let’s stop with the we-need-sustainable-funding-that’s-dedicated-only-to-fixing-transportation’ gimmick. Let’s start with this thought. Let’s fund only those things that are priorities. Fixing roads and bridges is a priority. Expanding highways is a priority. Building the Southwest Light Rail Transit project isn’t a priority. In fact, raising taxes to fund the building of the SWLRT is theft because it’s embroiled in a major dispute at the moment. The DFL can’t decide on the project’s path. Why should we pay for something that’s a total mess with no solution in sight?
Move MN’s motivation is clear. It’s just the DFL disguising itself while attempting to raise taxes to pay for things we don’t need. Here’s hoping Kurt Daudt and the House Republican majority continue telling the DFL’s lobbyists to take a hike…on their dime.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Tax Increases, Bike Trails, Transit, Pedestrian Infrastructure, Darin Broton, Transportation, Move MN, Artistic Drinking Fountains, Trolleys, Lobbyists, DFL, Kurt Daudt, Roads and Bridges, MNGOP
The Minnesota legislature is less than a week in and Gov. Dayton is already picking a fight with Republicans. The next time he picks a fight, he should know what he’s talking about. After reading this article, it’s apparent he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to transportation or economics:
Gov. Mark Dayton and transportation funding advocates say Minnesota can raise billions of dollars by adding a new tax to gasoline sales. But that tax could bring in less money than projected if the price at the pump stays at current low levels.
“The number on the revenue side of it does deserve additional scrutiny given the present price of gasoline,” Dayton said Friday. “If it stays at $2.25 a gallon for the next couple years, that revenue is going to be less.”
Minnesota already applies a 28.7-cent tax to every gallon of gasoline sold, a tax that’s the same whether that gallon costs $2, $4 or somewhere in between. But Dayton wants to raise more revenue by also applying a 6.5 percent sales tax to fuel sales. That tax would bring in different money per gallon depending on the price of gasoline: $0.13 per gallon with $2 gas, $0.21 per gallon with $3.25 gas, and $0.26 with $4 gas.
Dayton and advocacy group Move MN say they can raise $5.8 billion over 10 years by applying this sales tax to gasoline and also increasing license tab fees car owners pay every year. But Dayton said Friday that $5.8 billion figure was based on the assumption of $3.25 gasoline. That means the transportation package would bring in less than $5.8 billion if gas remained below $3.25. It could also bring in more than that if gas goes above $3.25.
Theoretically, Gov. Dayton is right. Theoretically, revenues will be greatest when prices are higher. Unfortunately for Gov. Dayton and his special interest allies, revenues aren’t collected in the theoretical realm. They’re collected in reality.
High gas prices mean more tax revenue per gallon sold — but also fewer gallons sold. Low gas prices mean the opposite situation.
Speaker Kurt Daudt put it best:
“We’ve taken money from Minnesotans to pay for those basics, we’ve spent too much of it on extras, and now we’re going to go back to Minnesotans and ask them for more money for basics?” House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Wednesday.
The DFL is famous for spending lots of money on things we don’t need. That’s because the DFL is famous for paying off their special interest allies with the taxpayers’ money. That won’t cut it with this GOP majority.
Republicans and other critics have opposed Dayton’s proposal to raise taxes on gasoline, saying the state should reprioritize spending from mass transit to roads and bridges first.
Let’s be blunt about this. Minnesota is spending too much money on transit, trolley cars and light rail. Minnesota isn’t spending enough on roads and bridges. Further, I’m highly skeptical of the experts’ prediction that we’ll need between $2,000,000,000 and $6,000,000,000 to fix roads and bridges in the next decade.
I want a detailed list of all the bridges 30 years or older that need repair in the next decade. Then I want a list of trunk highways that are old that’ll need repair in the next decade. Further, each of those lists should be prioritized based on the amount of traffic that they’re currently experiencing and based on the projected amount of traffic they’ll experience based on population growth.
It isn’t good enough to say ‘this bridge is old. Let’s fix it.’ If traffic is light, then it isn’t as high of a priority as if it’s a high traffic bridge. Gov. Dayton, the DFL and the transportation lobbyists need to learn that taxpayers aren’t their political ATMs. They can’t subject taxpayers to one tax increase after another.