Action has switched from daily committee meeting to long floor sessions in the Minnesota House as we debate and pass the major omnibus spending bills that will provide the funding to operate state budgets for the next two years beginning July 1. In all, there are ten spending bills that need approval, and we worked through half of them in the past week. The others, including House Republicans’ nearly $2 billion tax cut bill, will be up for debate this week.
One of the spending bills passed last week was the transportation bill, which will now go to a conference committee with the Senate. Included in House plan is a $25 million appropriation for cities under 5,000 population that will assist them with their local transportation needs. In total, it raises $7 billion over the next ten years without any additional gas taxes. Currently, both the Senate and Gov. Dayton have a different plan in that they are proposing a sales tax increase on fuel, which would go up or down annually, based on the wholesale price of gas. Sixteen cents per gallon would be the minimum increase under their plan, with additional hikes as the price of fuel goes up.