As the legislature works to assemble a final state budget agreement, Sen. Jason Rarick (R-Pine City) will serve on the conference committees for the transportation budget bill. Conference committees, which each include five members of the House and five members of the Senate, are responsible for working out a compromise on differences in the bills passed by both bodies.
“Transportation funding continues to be one of the most significant issues facing the legislature,” said Sen. Rarick. “I am excited and honored to be able to play a role in the negotiations. I know gas tax and tab fee increases will be a hot topic again, but they simply aren’t necessary. Republicans listened to Minnesotans and passed a budget that invests billions into transportation without asking workers to pay more. I will defend that position during negotiations.”
Last week, the Minnesota Senate passed a $6.63 billion transportation funding package that invests in the state’s transportation infrastructure – without a gas tax, sales tax, or license tab fee increase – and protects existing transportation funds from being spent on non-transportation government programs. Notably, an attempt to incorporate the governor’s massive gas tax and tab fee increases into the bill failed without a single vote of support. Every member of the Senate, including 32 Democrats, voted against the Governor’s transportation plan.
Conference committees will begin meeting this week and will continue until an agreement is reached. After a conference committee has passed compromise legislation, both legislative bodies must vote to approve the agreement before sending it to the governor for a signature or veto. The legislature is constitutionally-mandated to adjourn by May 20.