Republican bill would give drivers option to pay 20-cent gas tax at pump

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Four Republican senators in Minnesota introduced a bill Thursday that would allow drivers to choose at the pump whether they want to pay an extra 20-cent per gallon gas tax.  

The bill is likely a response to Gov. Tim Walz’s proposed 20-cent per gallon gas tax hike, which would not be optional. 

The gas tax hike was included in the Democratic governor’s first budget, which he put forth last month. Under Walz’s budget proposal, Minnesota’s gas tax would increase from 28.6 cents to 48.6 cents, a 70 percent jump. The revenue would go towards road and bridge projects across the state. 

The increase would make Minnesota’s gas tax the fourth highest in the nation, behind only Pennsylvania, California and Washington. 

Sen. Andrew Mathews (R-Milaca), Sen. Jerry Relph (R-St. Cloud), Sen. Jason Rarick (R-Pine City) and Sen. Mark Koran (R-North Branch) authored the rebuttal bill

The bill would require retailers to ask drivers at the point of sale if they want to pay the additional 20-cent tax. Revenue from the additional gas tax would go into the highway user tax distribution fund. 

A spokesperson for Gov. Tim Walz released the following statement:

Making sure Minnesota’s infrastructure is structurally sound isn’t optional. Governor Walz has proposed a plan to keep Minnesotans safe from crumbling roads and bridges. It’s time for Minnesota Republicans to put forward a serious proposal to fund desperately needed repairs across the state.