warning: file_exists(): open_basedir restriction in effect. File(/var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/../ad_/ad_cache_.inc) is not within the allowed path(s): (/var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/:/tmp/) in /var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/sites/all/modules/ad/adserve.inc on line 160.

Legislators: Gas tax hike would hurt more than help

While Minnesota’s roads and bridges are in need of repairs and upgrades, raising the gas tax to fund them probably will hurt the economy more than it will help.
That’s the message state Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, and state Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, brought to constituents at a town hall meeting Thursday in Glencoe.
Newman said the proposal was to base the gas tax on wholesale gas prices. “It would have gone up and down with the cost of wholesale gas,” he said.
Newman added that people would pay the resulting higher gas prices “because they have to get to work, but it would lessen their disposable income.”
Gruenhagen said that according to Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB), the average gas price in April 2015 was $2.30 per gallon, as compared to $3.53 a year ago.
That, says MMB, is the equivalent of a tax cut for Minnesotans, because it gave Minnesota families an average savings of $900 per household annually.
“That means Minnesotans will have an additional $2 billion for spending, which means higher tax revenues for the state,” said Gruenhagen.
The proposed gas tax increased would have increased the cost per gallon by a minimum of 16 cents per gallon, based on the current low gasoline prices.
Glencoe resident Roger Schultz also pointed out that the use of more renewable fuel also could impact the revenue from the gas tax.
In another transportation issue, the legislators were asked by Glencoe resident Marie Thurn on progress to improve and expand Highway 212.
Newman said Highway 212 could receive funding from two sources — the transportation bill and the bonding bill.
But, said both legislators, there is a lot of competition throughout the state for those dollars.
In particular, the Met Council in the metropolitan area has been pushing to keep those dollars for the 494/694 beltway in the Twin Cities area.
But the Met Council has been getting grief. Four counties are suing the council, Newman said, and it is getting pressure from other sources.
“There is more pressure on the Met Council this year than there has been in any other year,”said Newman. “They’re really coming under fire.”

For more, see the May 27 print edition of The Chronicle.