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Consider the Gauntlet Thrown

Posted at 10:54 AM on February 19, 2008 by Michael Marchio

The Senate Finance and the House Taxes Committees set the stage yesterday for what will probably be this session's biggest fight. Each chamber passed a bill, to be heard on the floors this Thursday, that would increase the gas tax by 5 cents by this September. After that, it would rise 3 1/2 cents in the Senate version or 4 1/2 more in the House version until the borrowing for construction is paid off, plus another half cent in the metro to pay for transit and increased license tab fees. DFL lawmakers took out the provision that would have indexed gas tax increases to inflation to make it more palatable to Republicans.

The Governor, who feels the same way about tax increases as Luke Skywalker feels about Death Stars, has promised to veto it, and DFL leaders have said they will try for an override soon after he does so.

Coming on the heels of the Legislative Auditor's report that says MnDOT doesn't have enough dough to maintain what's already built in the state, it may be enough to persuade a few Republican lawmakers who didn't vote for the override last year to do so this year, which could mean big-time points for some teams. (Read the Legislative Auditors report here.)

Later this afternoon, we'll be sending invitations to the MFL's Gather.com page, and you'll be free to join up at your convenience. As I noted yesterday, we've had a few requests for some kind of tracking function that would give teams a recap of waivers action each week. We're going to take a look at doing something like that, and we'll keep you posted on how that develops.