Gov. Mark Dayton says he will not take up the recommendation of a task force that suggested raising Minnesota's gas tax to pay for highway improvements. Dayton says there's no public support for a tax increase, but acknowledged the state's transportation system does need an influx of new money.
Dayton commented less than two weeks after the Transportation Finance Advisory Committee he appointed issued its report. The group called for raising the gas tax and license tab fees to fund twenty years' worth of improvements.
The governor says there's no public appetite for a tax hike. Perhaps he read last week's editorial in the Owatonna People's Press, which worries the additional money spent in Steele County would be sucked up by road projects in the Twin Cities.
The Atlantic last week noticed that Minnesota was among a few states that have recently put the idea of a gas tax increase on the table (for awhile, at least), saying the issue has been political poison on both the state and federal levels for many years.
Dayton's dismissal of the idea suggests it remains toxic. In a bit of political irony it came on the day the governor introduced his new transportation commissioner, who was a member of the panel that suggested the tax hike.