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Political Pain at the Pump

Posted at 11:12 AM on April 18, 2008 by Michael Marchio (3 Comments)

You know those video screens that have been popping up at gas stations around the state? Well, the Republicans will be putting them to use during election season, according to Minority Leader Marty Seifert (R-Marshall). In his press conference today, he announced a plan to use the digital displays on pumps to target the seats of lawmakers who voted for the transportation bill

"We're going to go right out to where the folks are interested in the issue and specifically call some folks out on their vote since they were so proud of voting to raise the gas tax 42 percent, we're going to make sure that folks who are filling their car up know that," he said.

No real specifics on what the ads will look like, but he said the ads will be 15 seconds long, use the names of lawmakers who voted for the bill, and cost "thousands and thousands of dollars." He didn't say whether it would include photos of lawmakers, but that they will be customizable for each area so they can target specific people.

Rep. Seifert said that "whoever came up with the idea is a pretty smart guy." A reporter asked if he thought of it and he said "Well I thought it might be a good idea." He said he heard someone, not a lawmaker, joking about it, and that he thought that it could make a good strategy.

You've got to hand it to him though, if they actually roll this ad out during a summer when $4 per gallon gasoline is expected, it will probably resonate with some people. The visceral emotional response people get as they pull up to the gas station , think about how much it cost them last time to fill up, then think about how much more gas costs today and try and figure out in their heads how much worse the damage is going to be, gets most people in a pretty foul mood.

Keep in mind that only 2 cents on each gallon is from the increased gas tax. On August 1, the tax will rise another half-cent and on Oct. 1, another 3 cents, for a grand total of 5.5 cents, or 25.5 including the tax before the increase. Maybe the DFL will roll out their own ads at gas stations pointing that out, and blaming Bush's war policies for driving the cost of oil to $115 per barrel. At that price, 2 cent gas tax or not, we'd still be hurting at the pump.

The governor signed 17 bills into law today, vetoing one, HF3114/SF2820, carried by Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) and Sen. Dan Larson (DFL-Bloomington). It would allow park boards to buy land without the approval of city government if "in accordance with the
adopted comprehensive plan of the home rule charter or statutory city."

That's tough for Rep. Hilstrom, but she's actually risen to #6 in the power rankings, so she's still doing pretty well. Sen. Larson is at #57 right now, so it hurts him a lot more.

Check back for the weekly recap this afternoon.

Comments (3)

I've needed a front-wheel alignment twice in the last 4 months because of how crappy and pot-holed the roads are.

I'd rather pay a few extra cents at the pump....still costs a lot less than an alignment every 4 months.

Seifert and Co. are penny-wise and pound foolish, in the extreme.

Posted by John | April 18, 2008 3:53 PM

This past Summer, I was in southern Germany and paid the equivalent of $5/gallon at the pump. Where does most of that go? The government.

I pay $3.45 this morning here, and where does it go? Oil companies. They charge this much, because they can. How much of this is taxes? Not sure here, but in Michigan every pump has a sticker stating that $0.34/gal is tax. 34 cents? No wonder the roads suck. There are car-eating sized pot holes out in Hpks/Mtka. Driving my kids to daycare is like a stunt-car driver on a James Bond set, just trying to keep my car from falling into the chasm of doom.

If they go through with this pain-in-the-posterior plan ... I will switch my business to the gas station down the road WITHOUT the stupid screens.

Posted by GopherMPH | April 19, 2008 12:35 PM

Beat the high gas prices!

There is a new book out that tells us all how to really do it:

"How to Live Well Without Owning a Car" by Chris Balish---Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Mileage Out of Life (Paperback)"

Posted by TOMSAIL | April 21, 2008 3:15 PM