You say you want a revolution

A faithful read of the blogs, news sites, and talk radio reveals the beginning of a “tax revolt,” according to Gov. Tim Pawlenty. People are apparently that much in arms over the override of the governor’s veto of the gas tax.

“We’re all struggling around here just to keep our houses,” a driver at a gas station in Anoka told MPR’s Curtis Gilbert. “A lot of us around here are going into foreclosure almost because we can’t pay our bills. No work, no nothing. It’s tough.”

But a check of newspapers around the state today suggests the farther one gets away from the Capitol, the different the tune.

In the Worthington Daily Globe (reg. required):


Never mind that already high gas prices — at more than $3 per gallon — will be compounded by a 5-cent gas tax in coming months, or that license tab fees and vehicle taxes will also be increased. Reaction from community and business leaders on Tuesday was overwhelmingly positive.

The Marshall Independent (the home of House Minority Leader Marty Seifert):


“We will have more money for safer and better roads,” county commissioner Steve Ritter said of the transportation bill that passed Monday after a successful vote to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto.

“We know for sure that gas tax money will come to Lyon County,” commissioner Bob Fenske said. “I’m very pleased.”

An editorial in the Bemidji Pioneer:


Gov. Pawlenty’s dismissal of the override is disingenuous, that at a time when the federal government is issuing rebate checks, “Democrats in Minnesota have decided to burden our families with hundreds of dollars a year in new taxes to pay for a massive $7 billion tax increase.”

The Grand Forks Herald suggests service station owners aren’t all that concerned about competition from North Dakota says gas stations adjust prices to the competition anyway. As for drivers…


“We kind of gotten used to high gas prices,” said Paul Mehrkens after paying $36.02 for 11.6 gallons of unleaded regular gas at East Grand Station.

And down along the Iowa border, MPR’s Tom Weber found a similar view:


Jason Trout, a resident of Decorah, Iowa, wrote that politicians talk about how people will cross the border to buy gas cheaper. He calls that “poppycock.”

“Who is going to spend $6 in gas and a half hour of their life to save a few cents in taxes?” he asked, before concluding, “While I commend Minnesota for raising its tax, I won’t be crossing the border to show my support.”

… even though Minnesota has the lowest gas prices in the Upper Midwest.

  • Brian

    I hope the money from this actually is spent wisely. All it would take is one incident of the tax money being wasted for the “tax revolt” rhetoric to take hold. I think that would have unfortunate consequences for the DFL.

  • Lee

    Why is the press covering this as only a “Tax Increase” story? Why isn’t MPR/Local Papers/etc talking about the bill as a complete package? We need a bit more of the fair and balanced news (sorry I couldn’t resist). We need a story about the details of what it does and why its really a GOOD thing. Oddly I couldn’t find a single story on mpr website detailing the bill.

    Overall, this bill is a long term investment in the future infrastructure. It is like saving more money for your 401k for retirement, like spending less on your cable bill to invest in your house.

    Haven’t neo-cons been telling us we need to sacrifice? For safety, war, etc… this is one of those cases. We need to sacrifice for long

    Let us all look 20 years down the road not at the $5 extra at the pump today. We need to get politics and policy to move beyond tomorrow and to start looking at the next decade or two. We need to get citizens thinking that way too.

  • Al Heebsh

    Will we even be able to tell when the price increases by 8 cents? The price in gas swings by 10 or 20 cents a day fairly often. This increase gets lost in the noise of the daily fluctuation.

    Additionally, it should also be noted that this increase would not be as much of a hit now if we had taken care of it in the past. Due in large part to the “no tax increase” pledges of the past, we did not invest in our infrastructure when times where good. Before that our leaders thought it best to send out wndfall rebate checks during times of plenty, rather than use the money to invest in our future. Our leaders on both sides of the aisle need to develop a long term vision with respect to finances and infrastructure.

  • Matt

    Thank you MN legislature for finally taking a small step in the right direction. This gas tax increase is long overdue and to small, but it is something. Anyone who drives on the metro area roads knows that many are undersized and crumbling. The potholes are the worst I’ve ever seen. And anyone who cares about the envirnment knows we need to start planning our communities to be sustainable with less fossil fuel use. I for one would like to see a nationwide gas tax increase of $1 per gallon, this would be a great sacrafice for me as I must drive a truck for work and i use at least 1500 gallons of gas a year. Its time for a change.