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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Chamber of Commerce supports gas tax hike

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has endorsed a ten cent increase in the state gas tax. Business leaders, realizing that the incredible lack of funding for our transportation infrastructure has real economic impacts, are endorsing something that just has to be done in this state. We are $10 billion short over 20 years in terms of simply maintaining our current traffic levels, to say nothing of improving infrastructure. This plan, a combination of the gas tax increase, an increase in license tab fees, and various other funding sources, is already garnering complaints. But anybody who doesn't see that we are facing a crisis in terms of funding for roads and transit is denying reality.

This makes Governor Pawlenty and his "No new taxes" crew of House Republicans the minority. They have been standing in the way of increasing funding for transportation for a while now, and now that the CoC has come out in favor of a relatively large tax hike, that puts the Republicans at the fringe. Will they see reason and work to increase transportation and transit funding? Unfortunately, far too many will see any tax increase, even an increase to pay for a necessary public good, as evil.

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