Gov. Mark Dayton rejected a recommendation to increase Minnesota’s gasoline tax by 40 cents a gallon over two decades.
Ironically, the proposal to increase the state’s gasoline tax came as a recommendation from his newly appointed transportation commissioner, Charles Zelle.
Zelle had served on a Dayton task force that was charged with finding transportation funding.
Why did the governor oppose his own transportation commissioner? “I don’t support a gas tax increase at this time,” the governor made the statement when naming Zelle as his choice for transportation commissioner. Dayton made the comment, not because he opposes tax increases, but “because I think there’s not public support for it.”
Governor, you are correct. The public is not prepared to be saddled with a 40 cent per gallon increase in the price at the pump. I’m not certain if a price hike of that magnitude will ever be acceptable to the driving public.
As of Jan. 1, 2012, Minnesota drivers were paying 28 cents a gallon in excise taxes, and another .1 cents per gallon in other taxes. That puts the state as the 19th highest state gas tax in the U.S. In total, Minnesotans shell out 46.5 cents per gallon for gasoline in state and local government taxes every time we fill up. Anyone driving a diesel vehicle, car or truck, will have to cough up 52 cents per gallon.
The federal government wants its share when one fills up and that tax is 18.4 cents a gallon. Adding Minnesota’s current gas tax rate of 29 cents onto the federal 18.4 cents, we’re already paying 47.4 cents per gallon in local, state and federal taxes every time we fill up. Add to that another 40 cents a gallon and the cost is through the roof.
At the current rate in the Brainerd lakes area motorists are shelling out $3.199 per gallon for unleaded gasoline. If Minnesotans did not have a whopping 47.4 cents per gallon to pay the local, state and federal governments, we’d be looking at roughly $2.75 a gallon. That’s huge!
Politically and mathematically, Gov. Dayton is correct — the public would not stand for another 40 cent a gallon price hike to fuel their cars.