Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What are you gonna do, Geoffy?

There is a fight looming - well, there are probably several - at the Minnesota Capitol this year over transportation funding. Based on various news reports, it is clear that the motor vehicle sales tax dedication will not provide sufficient funding for the state's road and transit needs in coming years.

Enter Rep. Ron Erhardt, Republican from Edina, and his hardy band of brothers and sisters who are trying, inter alia, to raise the gas tax. Erhardt is a chief author of HF23, a bill to:
County wheelage tax authorized, vehicle registration tax provisions modified, transit fund and accounts established, motor vehicle sales tax revenues distributed, motor fuel tax rates modified, bonds authorized, and money appropriated.
You'll remember, boys and girls, that Rep. Erhardt managed to get a gas tax increase through the Republican-controlled House in 2005, a bill that also passed in the DFL-controlled Senate only to be vetoed by Pawlenty.

This bill has a companion in the Senate - S5 - sponsored by Senator Steve Murphy. The Senate version is one of the topics of Katie's screech fest from last week, so admirably autopsied by Charlie here and here. Katie says that S5 is proof of the DFL addiction to taxes and spending. Spot says that Katie's writing is proof of her addiction to playing fast and loose with the truth!

Of course, TPaw still thinks an increased gas tax is a bad idea, in spite of the fact that the Crosstown project got cancelled for the summer in a wonderful Gilbert and Sullivan production by the DOT. A production, incidentally, that featured a bit part for Senator Geoff Michel of Edina singing the patter song "Where Will We Find the Money?"

TPaw, through his mouthpiece, has already threatened to veto any gas tax:
On transportation, Senate DFLers would raise the gasoline tax, license tab fees and allow counties to raise taxes and fees, all to produce $1 billion of new spending on roads and transit. Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung has dubbed the Senate bill "veto bait."
This is pretty funny, of course, because the Minnesota Legislature's site links the House and Senate versions as "companions." Fellow travelers, so to speak.

So that brings us back to the question in the title of the post. A good transportation bill with a gas tax increase will pass the DFL-controlled Legislature. The governor will probably veto it. Then there will be a vote to override the veto.

What are you gonna do, Geoffy (Michel)?

He voted against the gas tax increase last time, in spite of the fact that the two representatives in his district - Ron Erhardt and Neil Peterson - voted for it. He then had the bad taste to pretend that the Crosstown fiasco of last summer was not his fault.

Spotty, I bet he votes yes.

Your friend Spot hopes that's where the smart money is, grasshopper.

Update: Fixed broken link.

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