By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz called the budget he introduced last week his “One Minnesota Budget,” but Republicans have a different name for it: “One Expensive Minnesota Budget,” and they’re promising to fight some of the big-ticket items, including a 20-cent increase in the Minnesota gas tax for roads and bridges.

Gov. Tim Walz easily won election last November by 11 percentage points and clearly feels he has a mandate for some of his campaign proposals. Among his key budget items is a 20-cent increase in the Minnesota gas tax, which amounts to a 70-percent increase over the current state tax. That money would go to roads and bridges.

Walz is also calling for $733 million in new money for education, and continuing a 2-percent tax on health care providers that was set to expire this year.

Republicans are saying “not so fast” to many of the Walz’s proposals, calling them “non-starters.” Deputy GOP Senate Majority Leader Michelle Benson was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“I don’t think he told anybody 20 cents a gallon,” Benson said. “I don’t think he told anybody historic increases in all sorts of new revenue, tabs, the property tax increase that he is looking at. I don’t think he has a mandate because he didn’t tell people how big the numbers were going to be.”

Earlier this month, leaders of the DFL-controlled House, the GOP-controlled Senate and the governor all pledged to work through their differences, setting early deadlines to get key bills done so there is not the traditional end-of-session meltdown this year.

But with such major differences over key budget items, it certainly looks like that agreement will be put to the test.”

Esme Murphy