No gas tax increase slated for Minnesota after lawmakers reach budget deal

May 19, 2019 11:21 PM

Minnesota's lawmakers have reached a budget deal that does not include an increased gas tax, according to a Senate press release. 

At a joint press conference Sunday Governor Tim Walz, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Speaker Melissa Hortman outlined the details of the budget agreement they reached Sunday evening.

In addition to the lack of an increased gas tax, lawmakers announced at the press conference that the health care 'provider tax' will not go away at the end of the year. The tax, however, is slated to decrease from 2% to 1.8%. 

A special session is likely to take place Thursday to finalize the budget-related votes, Hortman said at the press conference. Conference committees need to finish work by Monday night to meet their deadline.

Gazelka stated that the budget is over $48 billion or around a 6% increase to the size of the budget. Gazelka added that the "breakneck speed" at which the budget was assembled has prevented him from seeing "final, final, final" numbers. 

Later in the press conference Hortman stated that Gazelka had agreed to pass approval for federal election security money. 

DFLer Walz stated that the agreement signaled a move toward bi-partisan unification at the press conference. 

"In one of the only divided governments in the country, I am proud that we came together across party lines to put together a budget that will improve the lives of Minnesotans," Walz said Sunday.

Gazelka echoed that sentiment following the announcement of the budget deal but added that both sides of the aisle made concessions. 

"Sometimes instead of win or lose it's a draw and that's what we had here today is a draw," Gazelka said at the news conference announcing the deal.

"A true compromise has things you like and things you don't like," Gazelka added in a news release following the deal announcement. "I'm thrilled to deliver middle-class tax relief to families with a permanent rate cut, I'm not so thrilled with the growth in government spending demanded by Gov. Walz and the DFL House Majority."

"We agreed to a budget deal," Speaker Hortman said at the news conference. "We are leaving it to the leadership of all of the members of the legislature and the commissioners of the state of Minnesota to work out the agreements in public with the input of the public."


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