Minnesota Senate Pushes to Devote Auto Parts Sales to Roads

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March 7, 2022—Minnesota Senate Republicans have crafted two laws that would devote 100 percent of auto parts sales tax revenue to Minnesota roads and bridges, according to a story by KARE 11 TV.

Currently, half of that revenue goes to the Highway Users Trust Fund while the other half goes to the General Fund to pay for other state needs such as education, health care, and pollution control. "Everybody in the state of Minnesota benefits from a vibrant transportation system," Sen. Scott Newman says. "Think of all of the jobs that this funding will provide for all of us in the construction industry, and that all spends off into our economy."

The state's current sales tax is expected to generate $303 million this fiscal year on auto part sales. Supporters of the idea say dedicating that revenue to transportation would be a reliable source of funding at a time when fuel taxes aren't generating as much money.

The second bill, from Rockville Republican Jeff Howe, would set aside part of the money just for road and bridge grants to cities and townships. "Those folks buy gas too!" Sen. Howe said. "This gets a steady stream for those cities under 5,000 who, right now, get no funding. The only way they repair their roads is with local property taxes."

Both senators' legislation cleared their first hurdle when the Transportation Committee approved them unanimously. The next stop for both bills is the Senate Tax Committee. The last time state lawmakers raised the gas tax was in 2008, with the hike unfolding gradually over several years.

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