Thursday, May 19, 2005

Gas Tax Showdown in Minnesota

The scene is set. At one end of the dusty road stands the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty. At the other, the Minnesota Legislature. The issue: a 50% increase the state gasoline tax. [Source].

Now eagerly stand on the sidelines watching and waiting to see who will flinch first?

The back story to this thrilling drama is familiar. Pork loving elected officials want to spend more money then they have. Currently the state gets about $1.3 BILLION per year for road projects and expenses (according to a Pioneer Press article). This is not enough for our elected worthies from both sides of the aisle. Rather than explain where the existing monies are going and where the new money would be targeted, the elected worthies have resorted to the rhetoric of gloom and doom. Rather than allowing the taxpayers to vote of the tax increase, they have chosen to ram it down our throats. Of course, if the tax payers turned down the increase, the elected worthies would have to look elsewhere for more money to spend on their favored flavor of pork.

An issue like this always goes deeper then the obvious. For instance, while the elected worthies expect annual double digit percentage increases in money to spend, most household budgets are not going up much if at all. Unlike the so-called representatives of the people, we can not decide that our employers have to give us more money and enforce that decision by confiscation. In the debate over this increase, Sen. Sharon Marko, DFL-Cottage Grove, maintained that prices at the pump shouldn't dictate how the Legislature acts on the gas tax. (Marko will be long remembered for her tireless efforts to gain funding for the massive mangling of highway 61 through Newport, Cottage Grove and St. Paul Park.)

It would seem reasonable to expect the elected officials to answer a few questions in simple english before trying to rape our pocketbooks YET AGAIN. Where is the money going right now - details please? Precisely where will the new money go? Why are you afraid to let the taxpayers have a say in a tax increase?

Until such time as voters learn that voting the party ticket is the act of an idiot, that voting really can have a powerful impact and that there is no such thing as government money - it is our money, this sort of action will be the norm that we will receive from our elected officials.

Come on folks, wake up and demand better representation. After all, the elected clowns are our employees.

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