Republicans don’t really want to solve Minnesota’s transportation issues. What they really want is to run attack ads about transportation issues in this fall’s election say DFL House leaders.
With about a week left in the legislative session there is no agreement on a transportation bill to pay for fixing Minnesota’s crumbling roads and bridges. Both Democrats and Republicans say it is a priority. Democrats would like a solution that is more long-term using an increase in the gas tax. Republicans would rather use general fund money. House Speaker Kurt Daudt has told supporters he would rather use general fund money to “start to starve out the general fund so we move revenue that’s currently going into the general fund, which is a really good thing.” Democrats say that’s a non-starter because it would impact education and other programs.
“This is the problem when you hire the people who drafted your attack literature in the last campaign to run your legislative agenda,” said DFL Deputy Minority Leader Melissa Hortman when she was asked if Republicans really want a transportation bill. Hortman says Republicans could make a deal “but then they lose the campaign issue of ‘Republicans stopped a gas tax.’”
“I honestly don’t think they want a transportation bill because their friends have already written the attack literature.”
Video of GOP and DFL news conferences on transportation bill
Video above: Deputy Minority Leaders Melissa Hortman and Erin Murphy on Republican motivations
Video below: GOP and DFL news conferences on transportation bill
Are you convinced that House Republicans want a transportation bill?
Rep. Melissa Hortman: I would like to speak to that because I think this is the problem when you hire the people who drafted your attack literature in the last campaign to run your legislative agenda. The legislative agenda is geared toward attack literature. We have a $900 million surplus, $500 million ongoing. We certainly could reach a deal on a bonding bill that’s in the middle. We could do a responsible transportation bill. But then they lose the campaign issue of “Republicans stopped a gas tax.”
In a way I’m relieved that that’s all their going to run on. That all they can tell Minnesota is what they’re against. They can’t tell Minnesota what they’re for. And I honestly don’t think they want a transportation bill because their friends have already written the attack literature.
Rep. Erin Murphy: We know what it’s like at the end of the session when you are working to reach the conclusion that you want to reach. We know what that’s like. We’ve all done that together. And these last weeks can be very intense as you’re moving your agenda through using the rules and the procedures of course that are in place. I don’t feel that urgency at all in this House leadership in the Minnesota House of Representatives and I think that we’ve been hearing more from the Republican leadership about who’s to blame for the failure of this session than we’re hearing anything about what they’re going to do to actually accomplish what they said they would do for the people of Minnesota.