Minn. House passes gas tax, sets up showdown

April 29, 2019 06:54 PM

After two days of debate, the Minnesota House passed a $7.2 billion transportation funding bill Monday night that mirrors a plan put forward by Gov. Tim Walz in February.

The bill passed during a 74 to 58 vote that was largely along party lines. 

The Minnesota Senate's transportation finance bill does not include any new taxes. Instead it relies on existing tax revenue and uses some of the billion dollar budget surplus.

Democratic Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman says Republicans need to negotiate a compromise.

"It's not really a matter of whether Republicans will give in," she told reporters on Monday. "I will tell you it's absolutely essential that we have long-term sustainable transportation funding before we leave the building in May."

More from KSTP: 

Transportation taxes, spending take center stage at Capitol

Legislative panel takes up Walz transportation plan

The legislature is set to adjourn May 20, but Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka remains steadfast against tax increases.

"We have a bill that lowers the gas tax 20 cents," Gazelka said at a State Capitol news conference. "If we compromise between the 20 cents up and the 20 cents down, we're at a perfect spot. No gas tax increase."

Walz said on Monday he is not falling for that ploy by Senate Republicans, but he is willing to negotiate a different tax increase amount.

"I put a proposal forward that pays for what we do," he said. "We are simply paying less than any other previous generation of Minnesotans for upkeep of our roads and I think there's a plan there. I'm willing to listen to them on this, but at this point in time there's a need that's out there. I showed us how we pay for it. I'd like to continue down that road."

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Tom Hauser

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