Yesterday, I wrote that Rep. Thissen reflexively criticized the Republicans’ transportation proposal. This post will show how Sen. Bakk’s math doesn’t add up. Here’s what Sen. Bakk said about the Republican transportation plan:
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL- Cook, said constitutionally-dedicated funding, like the gas tax, is a better approach for transportation. Bakk said the House Republican plan to use general fund revenue could too easily be undone by the next Legislature.
“There’s just no guarantee that roads and public infrastructure are going to continue to be a priority once you’ve put them in the mix of having to compete with everything in the state budget,” Bakk said. “I think it’s unlikely that transportation competes in that environment in the next budget cycle.”
First, the DFL essentially raised the gas tax unilaterally in 2008. That tax, we were told, would solve our problems. I wrote this post in 2008. It turns out that that “constitutionally-dedicated funding” plan didn’t fix anything, which proves that Sen. Bakk is full of it.
Why trust a guy who promised a solution that didn’t work the last time? It’s foolish to trust people who’ve failed us before. That’s what Bakk did. There’s also no reason to trust Sen. Bakk, especially after he said that “There’s just no guarantee that roads and public infrastructure are going to continue to be a priority once you’ve put them in the mix of having to compete with everything in the state budget.”
Under the GOP plan, those sales taxes on lease vehicles, auto parts and car rentals wouldn’t be part of the general fund. They’d be part of the Transportation Stability Fund. The only way that changes is if the DFL would vote to take money out of that fund to pay for other things that they want.
If Republicans hold their House majority and retake their majority in the Senate, they could put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2018. If that passed, then the Transportation Stability Fund would become constitutionally dedicated fund.
Finally, beyond Sen. Bakk’s shaky math, it’s shameful that the DFL is ignoring their constituents. According to KSTP’s latest poll, 75% of Minnesotans oppose raising the gas tax. What part of that doesn’t the DFL understand? Perhaps the better question is this: Does the DFL care what their constituents want? I’m not certain they do. At minimum, I haven’t seen proof that they care about their constituents, though there’s tons of proof they care about their special interest allies.
In fact, there’s ample proof that that’s all the DFL cares about.