Many Minnesota Democrats are opposed to a constitutional amendment being considered that would redirect money from the state’s general fund for transportation projects.
The proposal in the Senate would allow Minnesota voters to decide in the fall election whether to amend the state constitution to allow future sales tax revenues from auto parts, repairs and vehicle rentals and leases to go into a special account to pay for road and bridge projects.
Some state Republicans have also said they are reluctant on principle to mess with the constitution.
A similar bill moved out of a House committee Monday and Representative Jack Considine of Mankato said there are other problems with the concept. “Every single thing, from both sides of the aisle, says we need $600 million. They’re going to take a little over $300 million out of the general fund and add it to transportation but they are still not funding it adequately,” he said.
Right now he’s a no vote, but Considine said he may consider the proposal with an addition that would address the funding shortfall. “If they would, say, add a 12 cent gas tax and put the funding from the auto parts sales into transportation I would do it, ” he explained, and added, “At least it would fix one of the problems.”
Representative Erin Murphy said an amendment would tie the hands of future governors and policy-makers, and make the decision difficult to reverse in any future economic downturn.