MNGOP Anti-Rybak #3: Sales Taxes

A common theme you’ll see among MN GOP talking points is a heavy reliance upon tax or fee proposals rather than actual tax or fee increases.

Have you ever had a conversation at work or with your family where someone suggested buying something that was followed up with, “okay, now how are we going to pay for it?” In this case, people were asking for improvements to state roads and transit, which costs money, which means someone would have to pay for it. That sounds like mature budgeting to me where costs are justified.

Raise Sales Tax

Rybak Supported Half-Cent Sales Tax Hike. “Minnesotans could vote to increase their own taxes for roads and transit under a transportation funding plan proposed Tuesday by Twin Cities mayors and DFL legislators. A half-cent sales tax increase would raise more than $230 million a year for projects in the seven-county metro area alone… ‘We’re willing to lead on this issue … and put our money where our mouth is,’ Sen. Dan Larson, DFL-Bloomington, said at a Capitol news conference attended by 13 area mayors, including R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis.” (Conrad deFiebre, “DFL legislators, metro mayors have transportation plan,” Star Tribune, February 28, 2007)

Rybak supported a plan that would allow Minnesotans to vote on whether to sales tax themselves to fund additional run and transit costs. How dare he support letting people vote on whether they’re willing to pay for better roads!

Coincidentally, this was in February of 2007, which means Rybak was working to improve Minneapolis’ roads six months before the I-35W bridge collapsed. Are we to believe that it was wasteful for Rybak to be suggesting, in the spring of 2007, that we should be investing more in our roads? Would people be complaining so loudly about potholes in 2010 if more road maintenance had been accomplished over the past three years?

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