Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Don't blame Bud

Dear Friends-

Transportation is an important item on this year’s legislative agenda, but I haven’t heard people clamoring for their taxes to be raised. Regardless, you and I both will be paying more at the pump and several other places in the future.

Governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed the transportation bill last week, but the House and the Senate Democrats both got enough votes for an override Monday. The result is the largest tax increase in Minnesota history: $6.6 billion.

Minnesota was ranked 28th in gas taxes, but will rise to seventh nationally with an 8.5-cent increase in the bill. In addition, we’ll all pay extra for registration and license tabs. There also is a quarter-cent sales tax increase in the metro area - with no referendum - and funding for mass transit.

Through an amendment to the bill, there is no guarantee funding will be equitable between rural Minnesota and the metro area. This is not good for those of us in rural Minnesota and, with a budget deficit looming, it also is ill-timed.

It probably wasn’t by coincidence the transportation bill sped through the House and Senate just ahead of an updated budget forecast. Last November’s prediction called for a $373 million state shortfall, but this week’s updated figure could be in the $1 billion range.

But before Minnesotans had a chance for the shortfall reality to hit, the transportation bill was enacted. Estimates say the increased transportation taxes will cost each Minnesotan in excess of $130 per year. That’s more than $500 per year for a family of four.

What we needed was an earnest look at reform. Missouri and Indiana both largely increased their transportation funding recently without having to raise taxes. The problem in Minnesota was a lack of work across party lines. No Republican amendments were adopted and Gov. Pawlenty was left out of the mix.

We all believe we need good roads, but this isn’t a bill that reflects the desires of everyday Minnesotans. In fact, 70 percent of constituents said “no” to a gas tax in a recent survey I distributed in the local district and my vote on the bill reflected that sentiment.

Furthermore, transportation funding seems to be down on the list of priorities for the people I represent. Of the 10 people I spoke with during breakfast at a Pelican Rapids restaurant over the weekend, not one of them talked about transportation being a priority. They’re more concerned about education and property taxes.


Rep. Bud Nornes
State Representative 10A
277 State Office Building
100 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Fax: 651- 296-4307

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Anonymous said...

Education is on the forefront of my thoughts. Now that the transportation bill is outta the way, will that give more time for the legislature to address our failing schools? We can only hope! Again, get ready to over-ride another Pawlenty veto.

Call your legislators, folks! Pelican Rapids WILL be losing teachers this year and again next year if school funding isn't fixed. Reality is soon to be setting in.

apple betty said...

Dear Bud,
Sorry that you only spoke with ten people in Pelican Rapids over the weekend. If you had taken the time to seek out others than those who were eating breakfast in a particular restaurant, you would have found that there is more than one side to this issue.

There are many who see the need for a long-term solution for the debt piling up: instead of borrowing millions of dollars to cover the costs of new roads and bridges (and repairs), the new gas tax will help retire some of the debt.

Education is a priority--perhaps you should hang out at the PR post office on Friday where you can meet all sorts of people.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time for all the Dalmatian's to leave the "Bud Truck" this fall. Otter Tail County needs new thinking.

When gas hits $4.00 per gallon this summer, Bud will blame it on the 5 cent gas tax.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't the school asked the public for a little bit of operating money? They may have more success with this than they did with the new school idea.

Andrew Evenson said...

I am glad that Bud Nornes has stood strong against excessive taxes and I think it will help him gain more support than ever. Minnesota already has the 7th highest taxes per capita of any state in America and this will probably move us up to 5th.

College students like me are hurt by the $130 per person tax increase when already faced with large student loans.

As far as education spending goes, the reason we have to cut teachers is because we are loosing students. I'd love to be able to keep all of our teachers, but just like any business or organization you have to make cuts when numbers are down.

Let's focus on how to attract more students and families to live in Pelican Rapids so that we can keep all of our town's wonderful teachers.

Anonymous said...

It's time Bud joins Cal in retriement. To give up transportation in order to stay the company line is not in the best interests of us in Otter Tail County or Minnesota. Leadership means doing what's best for the people... not the "party". Watch now how soon these updates will take credit for new roads and bridges....not Bud's fault!