Letter: Gas hike would be unfair to taxpayers

Published 8:19 am Wednesday, March 27, 2019

My parents taught me that stealing from the cookie jar is wrong, and I bet yours did too.  However, when those in government do it, it somehow seems to be “okay.”

Peggy Bennett

Did you know that a large chunk of the 20-cent gas tax increase you’re going to pay under the Democrat tax-hike plan will not fix a single pothole, increase highway lanes, or repair any bridges? That’s because one-third of that tax increase (that you get to pay) will be used to replace funds ALREADY being dedicated to roads and bridges.

Two years ago, the legislature passed a law redirecting vehicle related sales taxes that people are already paying on things like car parts and auto repair to be used for statewide road and bridge repair needs. This common sense plan will bring in nearly $420 million over the next two years alone (and continue on into perpetuity) for our roads and bridges – about the equivalent of a seven cents per gallon gas tax increase – without raising taxes.

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I greatly disagree with raiding these funds which have already been set aside for fixing our roads and bridges. While some government leaders want to take those dollars and dump them into the general fund to spend on pet projects, you who work hard to keep food on your tables and pay the bills will have to dish out more dollars at the pump — and all to replace money that was already there. It is simply not fair to taxpayers who have already paid to fund the account and now must pay AGAIN to refill it.

I think of one of my former first grade students, Alyssa (name changed for privacy) and her family. I still stay in touch with them and they are very special to me. I know how hard Alyssa’s parents work to put food on their table, pay the electric bills, and pay their rent. I watch how responsible they are, counting every penny. They, and many others like them (including seniors on fixed incomes), can’t afford this gas tax-hike – and they certainly don’t deserve to have to cough up more money to replace road and bridge funds that are already there which some legislators plan to pilfer.  This is just not right!

I applaud Governor Walz for being concerned about the condition of our roads and bridges. There is much to fix and much to build. However, we can do this without hiking the gas tax, sales tax, and vehicle tab fees. Why do we have to increase these taxes and fees (which will never be reduced and will go on forever) when we have a budget surplus?

We can do this without putting more burden onto the backs of people who can’t afford it, and we can definitely do it without stealing money meant for fixing our roads. We proved it could be done two years ago, and we can do it again.


State Representative Peggy Bennett

Albert Lea, MN