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Continued: Car tax increase deadline bearing down on Minnesota counties

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 3, 2013 - 11:02 AM

One opponent is no longer on the board, and it’s unclear whether opinions have changed.

But on Tuesday evening, board Chairman Mike Opat and Commissioner Jeff Johnson said they won’t support a wheelage tax.

“We have enough money in the system now,” Opat said. “I’m not sure we have that great a need for more road spending.”

Johnson noted that the county’s total budget is $1.8 billion, adding, “If we can’t find money within that to keep our roads in good repair, then we aren’t prioritizing very well.”

Hennepin County Commissioners Peter McLaughlin and Gail Dorfman voted for the tax last time. McLaughlin is pushing hard for the increase.

“This money could jump-start our road system and help get it back into high-quality shape, improve safety, save energy, and provide better movement on county roads,” he said in a news release.

“This could also be used to reduce property taxes currently going into the road system.”

Brisk said she, too, believes Hennepin County strongly needs a wheelage tax. “You either paint your house now or you paint it two years from now,” she said. “The question is always: Is there a cost to waiting?”

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747 @rochelleolson

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