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The city of Minneapolis on Thursday formally announced that it plans to raise the gas tax after two-thirds support in the state Legislature.
“While there are many great things I am proud to call home, I am most proud that Minneapolis continues to prosper,” City Council Member Jacob Frey said in a written statement.
Frey made the announcement after Minneapolis lawmakers released a resolution agreeing to a 4 percent increase to the city’s $3.35 state gas tax.
The gas tax hike takes effect at the end of this month. Minneapolis is not alone in raising its tax.
State Attorney General Lori Swanson’s office recently announced it is suing four cities to force them to raise their taxes. Swanson says the municipalities — Minneapolis; Chicago; St. Paul; and Milwaukee — have refused.
Frey applauded Swanson for the state’s aggressive response.
Minnesota’s $3.35 gas tax was instituted in 2008 as lawmakers made a $200 million budget deficit a priority, according to the state Senate finance committee.
“The people of Minnesota do not want to see you raise our gas tax,” Frey said.
Frey said his constituents want it gone.
“I’d rather the gas tax be gone, but we may need to make some adjustments to support the people of Minneapolis.”
Frey also said the tax will likely take place during the city’s rainy-day budget period.
The City of Minneapolis is not alone in raising its tax. The mayors of St. Paul, St. Joseph, Mankato and Minneapolis all pledged their support for the tax increase earlier this year.
But the push for an increase started with a lawsuit filed by Swanson against four cities for refusing to raise gas taxes.
Frey says his constituents would not be satisfied if cities kept raising rates.
“This is unacceptable. There’s no reason a city should be asked to increase its gas tax by half, and every reason why we would not be satisfied with an increase of only 2.5 cents, as the people of the people of Minnesota have been asking for.”
Frey and fellow Republican lawmakers said they are ready for a tough fight if the gas tax hike has to be approved by the Senate.
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