An omnibus transportation budget bill is on its way to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk without any gas tax increase.
After clearing the DFL-controlled House Friday evening, the bill passed out of the Senate later Friday night in a 54-13 vote.
It’s official…no gas tax increase in Minnesota. Senate just passed transportation bill after House passed earlier. On its way to the governor. pic.twitter.com/Yk81S8lq3j
— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) May 25, 2019
The transportation bill was one of 13 bills state lawmakers passed during their marathon 21-hour special session that wrapped up Saturday morning just before 7 a.m.
“This year we drove down the cost of health care, gave tax relief to the middle class, made historic investments in education, and funded roads and bridges. This is a budget that all Minnesotans can be proud of,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said Saturday morning.
“This year we drove down the cost of healthcare, gave tax relief to the middle class, made historic investments in education, and funded roads and bridges. This is a budget that all Minnesotans can be proud of.” #mnleg pic.twitter.com/IiBzkg1Og0
— Paul Gazelka (@paulgazelka) May 25, 2019
Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), chair of the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, called the bill a “true compromise that looks toward the future.”
“Millions of Minnesotans rely on a healthy and robust transportation network to travel, transport goods, and go to work and school. This compromise agreement makes a substantial investment in maintaining the safe and reliable infrastructure on which we all depend—and keeps transportation funds dedicated for transportation-related purposes,” he said.
Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis), sponsor of the bill in the House, wasn’t as pleased.
“The status quo approach is actually fiscally irresponsible,” he said on the House floor Friday night. “We are going to reach a funding cliff in coming years and we will be in even more dire straits than we are now.”
Walz, who had been pushing for a 20-cent gas tax increase all session long, said early Saturday morning that he was “proud” of the bills headed to his desk.
“We set out to make investments in education, health care, and community prosperity and that’s exactly what we achieved with this budget,” he wrote on Twitter. “Minnesota is showing the rest of the nation that Republicans and Democrats can still find compromise and work together to get things done.”
I am proud that the #mnleg budget bills will be heading to my desk to sign into law. We set out to make investments in education, health care, and community prosperity and that’s exactly what we achieved with this budget. #OneMinnesota pic.twitter.com/MXRHdtRGca
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) May 25, 2019
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Tim Walz” by Tim Walz. Background Photo “Minnesota Senate Gas Tax Vote” by Tom Hauser.