Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Shane Mekeland (R)

Back to profile

Legislative update

Friday, April 9, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

Ah, the snow has melted, the birds are chirping and Democrats at the Capitol are looking to raise our taxes. Must be springtime in Minnesota.

While it is good to see the snow disappear and birds are nice to have around, we could do without the unnecessary, yet never-ending, liberal tax increases. The state has a $4.2 billion surplus (including federal dollars) and full reserves, yet House Democrats want to raise our taxes by $2.5 billion or more. 

Yes, you heard that correctly: House Democrats want to raise our taxes by at least $2.5 billion (“billion,” with a “B”) at a time the state is swimming in cash. This week they unveiled their omnibus transportation bill and that by itself includes more than $1.5 billion in unexpected transportation tax and fee hikes over the next four years. None of the tax/fee proposals have received committee hearings this year, making their inclusion even more surprising.

Of particular note, House Democrats are trying to resuscitate their unpopular gas tax increase. Here is more on that and other transportation tax/fee increases the majority proposes:

  • A gas tax increase ($363 million over four years) by linking Minnesota's gas tax to the Highway Construction Cost Index. This would result in an automatic annual inflationary gas tax increase.
  • A sales tax increase to fund light rail and other transit ($916 million over four years). Democrats are proposing a half-percent increase in the metro sales tax.
  • A Motor Vehicle Sales Tax (MVST) increase ($120 million over four years).
    Registration tax increase ($149 million over four years) through changes to vehicle depreciation schedules.
  • Luxury vehicle registration tax increases ($10.7 million over four years). 

Again, at a time when Minnesota has a surplus of more than $4 billion, they want people to have to pay more to drive to work. While the majority likes to say “tax the rich” these taxes will hit Minnesotans of all income levels at a time people are looking to dig out of the financial hole caused, in part, from restrictions the governor placed on them resulting in lost income. We don't need to raise taxes to balance our budget or to take care of one of our most basic functions of government in transportation.

Besides, if House Democrats want to raise the metro sales tax by half a percent, how about using that money to rebuild from the arson, rioting and looting that was allowed to happen in the Twin Cities last summer instead of pouring it into trains at a time fewer and fewer people are riding? I oppose this tax increase either way, but at least House Democrats could say they want to put it toward something more worthwhile such as the metro area fixing its own mess.

In addition, House Democrats also released their tax bill this week. It raises taxes by more than $1 billion and fails to fully protect businesses from Paycheck Protection Program tax hikes on forgiven loans. So, yes, as of now, the very same state government that forced Minnesota businesses to close their doors, leaving many with no choice but to accept federal emergency loans to keep workers on the payroll and stay afloat, now could be profiting off the hardships of others. Talk about sickening.

Maybe the silver lining in all of this is the majority’s budget plan is so detached from reality that it stands no chance of enactment. House Democrats are so out of touch they somehow make the governor’s plan to raise taxes by “only” $670 million at a time of vast state surplus appear less terrible. Hmm ... maybe that’s more than just happenstance.

In any case, I’m in the camp that says tax increases are absolutely unnecessary and, in fact, we should be taking the opposite approach by relieving the already excessive tax burden the state has placed on families and workers in our state. If there ever were a time people needed some breathing room to get their financial feet back under them, this is it.



Recent News for Rep. Shane Mekeland