The DFL is opposed to not raising every Minnesotan’s taxes. The Dayton-DFL transportation plan would impose a tax increase on everyone who owns a vehicle. It would also impose a tax increase on everyone in the 7-county metro area via a sales tax increase. The 7-county sales tax increase is collected from anyone buying things in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties. The sales tax revenue collected, however, mainly gets funneled into transit projects in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
Move MN’s agenda includes funding for bike trails and “pedestrian infrastructure.” Nowhere on Move MN’s agenda page does it define what “pedestrian infrastructure” is, meaning that Minnesotans can’t rule out a DFL-imposed tax increase to pay for sidewalks and walking paths.
The Republican plan focuses on fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges. In addition to actually focusing on the things that Minnesotans are prioritizing, roads and bridges, the Republican plan focuses on Minnesota’s priorities without raising taxes. When the average Minnesotan talks about transportation, they’re talking about filling Minnesota’s millions of potholes. They aren’t insisting that their taxes get raised to pay for bike trails and “pedestrian infrastructure.”
If we polled Minnesotans what they wanted their money spent on this session, bike trails and pedestrian infrastructure wouldn’t break the top 25 items. It just isn’t a priority. It wouldn’t be surprising if that same imaginary poll found that transit projects in the 7-county metro area were more than a plurality of voters in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Every other county in Minnesota would say transit projects just aren’t a priority.
Another key component of the Republican transportation plan is the creation of a Transportation Stability Fund, which is explained in Speaker Kurt Daudt’s statement:
The Road and Bridge Act of 2015 creates a special fund called the Transportation Stability Fund that collects existing proceeds from dedicated tax revenues and deposits them into accounts for each of their dedicated purpose. There are five accounts that would dedicate a combined $3.078 billion over ten years:
1. Road and Bridge Account – revenue from existing sales tax on auto parts
2. Metro Capital Improvements Account – revenue from existing sales tax on rental vehicles
3. Small Cities Account – revenue from existing rental vehicle tax
4. Greater Minnesota Bus Services Account – revenue from 50% of existing Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax
5. Suburban County Highway Account – revenue from 50% of existing Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax
Predictably, the DFL opposes redirecting the sales taxes away from the general fund. The question Minnesotans should ask DFL legislators is straightforward. Why should taxes collected on vehicles and auto parts not be part of the solution for fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges? Another question that would be appropriate to ask is why those sales taxes are being directed at anything from funding corrupt organizations like Community Action of Minneapolis to funding MnSCU’s Central Office to paying for outrageous pay raises for Gov. Dayton’s commissioners.
There’s abundant proof that Republicans listened to Minnesotans. Similarly, there’s abundant proof that the DFL listened to transportation lobbyists.
That’s ample proof that the DFL is the servant of the special interests.