From the Taxpayer's League E News:
2. Statement from Phil Krinkie regarding the I-35W bridge collapse.
“We mourn the loss of life and the injuries. Now is a time for all Minnesotans to join together to comfort the victims and their families.
“Over the coming months there will be an investigation and a proper, informed debate about the causes and appropriate response to the bridge collapse. Until all the facts are known, it is not the time to assign blame or engage in political gamesmanship.
“Elected officials from both sides of the political aisle, charitable organizations, first responders, and all Minnesotans have banded together to heal this deep wound to our community. It would be disappointing indeed to see any irresponsible people attempt to use this tragedy for political or partisan purposes.”
I wonder how they will respond to Governor Pawlenty's call for a gas tax increase?
Gov. Tim Pawlenty said tonight he is willing to reverse his longstanding opposition to a state gas tax increase in the wake of the Minneapolis bridge collapse.
The state's gas tax has been at 20 cents per gallon since 1988. Pawlenty had vetoed bills to raise it in 2005 and earlier this year.
"Everything is on the table," Pawlenty said this evening on the "Almanac" news program. "I will be moving to consider and put on the table a gas tax increase."
Pawlenty said he hoped in exchange, legislators would accept some of his ideas for funding roads and bridges.
After meeting today with the Republican governor, Minnesota's legislative leaders began putting lawmakers on standby for a post-Labor Day special session. Pawlenty said in an interview earlier Friday that he would likely summon lawmakers to St. Paul to respond to the bridge disaster.
No date has been set and the details of emergency legislation still have to be worked out.
The gas-tax shift is a huge political concession for Pawlenty, who has stood firmly against any state tax increases during his 4 ¼ years in office. In light of the bridge tragedy, "We've got to come together and we've got to move forward," he said.
Pawlenty's second-in-command, Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, scoffed at the idea of a gas tax increase at a press conference Friday. Molnau doubles as the state transportation commissioner.
"If you think raising the gas tax will take care of the problems - because that's how we've always paid for our infrastructure - it can't keep up any longer," Molnau said. "We do need to look for resources that we can count on long term. But I will tell you, we would have to raise the gas tax 34, 35 cents a gallon to do what you're asking us to do. And I don't think the motoring public nor the commerce in this state could sustain that."