Monthly Archive for March, 2015

Rep Denny McNamara’s Capitol Update: $7 billion over ten years for road and bridge repairs

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 03/26/2015

Hello from the State Capitol,

When it comes to future road and bridge investment, we now have a viable alternative to Governor Dayton’s plan that would cost taxpayers $9 billion.

Legislative Republicans unveiled the Road and Bridge Act of 2015 recently, and the plan would provide $7 billion over ten years for road and bridge repairs. The best part about it? It would cost Minnesotans absolutely nothing.

More than $3 billion would be allocated by simply redirecting proceeds from certain taxes that are already being collected.

Think about this: When you buy a replacement headlight for your truck, the sales tax collected on that purchase goes directly to Minnesota’s General Fund where it can be spent in any number of ways. Under this proposal, the sales taxes on auto parts would be sent to a newly created Transportation Stability Fund where it would be used for road and bridge funding purposes.

The same would be true for the Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax, the rental vehicle tax, and the sales tax on rental cars. All of these tax collections currently go to our General Fund. In the future, all would go to the Transportation Stability Fund, where along with statewide roads and bridges, the money would be used for suburban county highways, metro area capital improvements, bus services in Greater Minnesota, and even small city roads.

Additionally, the Act would utilize $1.3 billion in Trunk Highway bonds, $1.2 billion from realigning Minnesota Department of Transportation resources, $1.05 billion in General Obligation bonds, and $228 million in General Funds for our road and bridge needs.

This would lead to a $4 billion infusion for state roads, $1.44 billion for county road projects, and another $583 million for municipal roads.

By contrast, Governor Dayton wants to increase the motor vehicle registration tax, raise the seven-county Metro Area sales tax, and enact a new tax on gasoline – which will amount to drivers paying a minimum of 16-cents more per gallon – to raise $9 billion for transportation.

Basically if yours is a two-car household, you could expect to pay $600 more per year under the governor’s plans. Under the Road and Bridge act, you’d see a $7 billion investment without any tax increases.

I truly believe this legislation being offered by the House majority is a common sense road and bridge funding proposal that many in our area would support. I will keep you updated on its progress.

Also, if you have not completed my annual session survey, please know I am still seeking your input. Visit my House website at www.house.mn/54B and click on “2015 Legislative Survey” to participate. Or if you’d rather have a hard copy, call my office at 651-296-3135 or drop me an email at rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn and I’ll see that you get one.

Keep in touch,
Denny

Representative Denny McNamara
365 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn

Rep Denny McNamara’s Capitol Update: Minnesota is projected to see a nearly $1.9 billion surplus for the 2016-17 budget cycle

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 03/05/2015

Hello from St. Paul,

State economists released our latest budget projection on February 27, and the news is very good. Minnesota is projected to see a nearly $1.9 billion surplus for the 2016-17 budget cycle. The outlook is positive for Fiscal Year 2018-19 as well, as we are currently on pace to see a $3.1 billion windfall.

The reason Minnesota is in good fiscal shape is due to an increase in projected revenue and a decrease in expected spending.

The experts also noted that lower oil prices helped our economic growth, saying cheaper oil reduces capital expenditures in oil-related industries and allows consumers to divert spending toward non-gasoline purchases.

Now that lawmakers have the most up to date economic projection, we will move forward with setting our state’s budget for the next two years.

In my opinion, there are two areas that deserve attention now that we have this budget windfall: tax relief and transportation.

Minnesota faces this surplus because hardworking Minnesotans paid too much to state government. They deserve a break, and we should be looking at ways to provide them tax relief.

The other place we should look to invest is in our roads and bridges. Governor Dayton has been traveling the state touting his $9 billion tax and fee increase plan, which ultimately would force Minnesota’s drivers to pay a minimum of 16-cents per gallon more at the pump. A recent poll found that 75 percent of Minnesotans oppose this idea.

Due to the size of this surplus, and the fact that lowered gas prices helped improve our economic condition, our Speaker of the House has stated that any potential gas tax increase is now off the table.

That means we will likely be looking directly at the surplus, and at redirecting tax dollars that are already being collected, in order to improve our roads and bridges.

As we move forward, I’ll be sure to update you on our budget setting process.

Also, be on the lookout for my annual session survey as it was recently distributed. If you prefer to complete the survey online, visit my House website at www.house.mn/54B and click on “2015 Legislative Survey.” If you’d rather have a hard copy and either did not receive yours or happened to misplace it, please let me know and I will send it to you. Call my office at 651-296-3135 or drop me an email at rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn and I’ll see that you get one. Your input is always valued and I look forward to hearing from you.

Keep in touch,
Denny

Representative Denny McNamara
365 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn