Senate Republican Leader David Hann called on Senator Matt Schmit (DFL – Red Wing) to end his support for a 56% increase in the gas tax in order to break the deadlocked budget negotiations at the Capitol. Senator Schmit and other Democrats are holding on to their support of a gas tax increase even though recent polls show 65% of Minnesotans oppose new taxes to fund transportation.
“Matt Schmit is digging in his heels demanding a gas tax increase, and it’s standing in the way of a bipartisan budget agreement and a successful end to the legislative session,” said Senator Hann. “People in Goodhue and Wabasha Counties need to call Senator Schmit and tell him they don’t want a government shutdown and they certainly don’t want a gas tax increase.”
With only six days remaining until adjournment, legislative leaders and Governor Mark Dayton are stalemated over talks to resolve their differences in the state budget. Senate Democrats and Governor Dayton are still insisting on raising the gas tax at least 16.5 cents per gallon. Republicans put forward a $7 billion plan to fund road and bridge construction over the next ten years that does not raise any taxes.
“When budget negotiations get stuck at the legislature, it’s up to the public to weigh in and break the tie,” added Senator Hann. “Legislators like Matt Schmit need to know that raising taxes when the state has a $2 billion budget surplus is the wrong answer for Minnesota families.”