Yesterday, Governor Mark Dayton (DFL-MN) proposed a second transportation fix, calling it a compromise where the each side gives up something and the other side is scores something else. The Compromise Proposal included an increase in license tab fees to the tune of $400 million, and a metro-wide sales tax of .05% resulting in $280 million for a grand total of $600 million/annual. This was rejected out of hand by Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-31A, Crown) stating standard Republican line “The public’s not going to swallow a doubling of their tab fees.”
Dayton’s Initial Proposal called for the $200 million from the General Fund, increase in license tab fees accounting for $150 million, a $.05 gasoline tax for transit equaling $150 million and a metro-wide sales tax of .05% for $280 million. Again, this proposal totaled $600 million.
Since the Republicans are not playing ball, critics argue the 2nd proposal undermines the negotiations, if any truly exist. As we have said we doubt the Republicans will accept any compromise, because they view it as capitulation. Supporters question why Dayton would offer up another idea and not hold the line on his first proposal. They are saying, he seems only to be negotiating with himself.
In response Daudt trotted out a rehash of the Republican approach which is to take money from the General Fund and not raise any taxes for transportation. This too sailed like a lead balloon.
We reiterate because of the ardent partisan political support the Speaker has in his camp, there is no stomach for any change in course. Republicans claimed on the campaign trail, which resulted in the electoral victory the DFL had failed rural Minnesota, especially on transportation. Their rural values agenda was code for anti-Gay Marriage, anti-Twin Cities. The dog whistle though silent rang loud in ears of people from Greater Minnesota, but a Presidential election is a far different landscape.
The Republicans will have trouble keeping their majority come November, when they fail to deliver on transportation funding, and on a Bonding Bill, especially, since the only reason to come to St Paul in 2016 is for a Bonding Session.