Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
mattaudio
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Re: State transportation financing and tax reform

Postby mattaudio » May 22nd, 2013, 7:25 pm

DaPerpKazoo is right. Amazon did a 180 in the last few years and now supports online sales tax. It's because it's currently holding them back from establishing a presence in all states so they can start same day parcel delivery. They're going to build their own supply chain to the customer's doorstep.

Ebay has now been leading the charge against the online sales tax.

BTW, Amazon is great even for food and clothing :)

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Re: State transportation financing and tax reform

Postby MNdible » May 22nd, 2013, 8:17 pm

Amazon is great if you don't mind losing local retailers. If you care about urban form, you should really put your money where your mouth is and spend it in the local storefronts that hep define great urban spaces. An Amazon warehouse in some distribution center in Tomah, WI isn't going to do much to help improve our urban environment.

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Re: State transportation financing and tax reform

Postby mplsjaromir » May 23rd, 2013, 7:54 am

I only buy stuff from Amazon when I cannot find it at a local retailer. It amazing how Amazon's stock does so well and never turns a profit.

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Re: State transportation financing and tax reform

Postby FISHMANPET » May 23rd, 2013, 7:58 am

As David said earlier, we're moving to a service based economy, especially on the local level. No reasonable person is going to pay the brick & mortar markup over places like Amazon without a good reason. So these local business should be service oriented, not product oriented. I can't get my dry cleaning on Amazon, I can't get a pair of pants hemmed on Amazon, I can't hire a lawyer on Amazon, etc etc. And while I can order food from Amazon, I can't order a steak cooked to perfection or a plate of nachos.

The service economy is the only hope for local retail. If I'm going to go into a local store and pay more for a product, there better be a really good reason. If I'm going to buy some clothes, I'll be able to try them on and hopefully get some really good advice about fit and what works for me. I can't get that on Amazon.

No business can compete with Amazon based on price or inventory, because Amazon wins every time. So local business needs to do the things Amazon can't, and that usually involves direct personal contact with another person providing something beyond the product.

And then we should charge sales tax on it.

mattaudio
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Re: State transportation financing and tax reform

Postby mattaudio » May 23rd, 2013, 9:09 am

@MNdible, since I know you love StrongTowns...
This was discussed last year on the Strong Towns Podcast with Ian Rasmussen. Some more nuanced analysis of how it can play out. Actually Amazon Prime could complement local retail nicely. It's actually our subsidized development model of chain big box/stripmall/outlot on a stroad that is most threatened. And that's not a bad thing.

Link:
http://www.strongtowns.org/strong-towns ... prime.html

nasa35

Re: State transportation financing and tax reform

Postby nasa35 » May 23rd, 2013, 10:59 am

FISHMANPET wrote:
nasa35 wrote:Fund better buses, stop all LRT now. Makes no sense, doesn't have the rideship and is way too expensive. The buses work great; we should be doing what we can to improve that and then start adding lanes.
LRT has a much lower operating cost per rider. Should NYC replace all its subways with buses as well? At what ridership level would LRT make sense? When the two car trains are so full we have to add a third car?
apple and oranges. NY is super dense, we are the opposite. We need buses. We do not need LRT.

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Re: State transportation financing and tax reform

Postby FISHMANPET » May 23rd, 2013, 1:55 pm

Does anywhere need LRT? Should an area transition from buses straight to subways? What's the threshold?

twincitizen
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Re: State transportation financing and tax reform

Postby twincitizen » May 29th, 2013, 9:50 am

Now that I look at Jim Davnie's Longfellow/Seward district, I can kind of see why he or his constituents would be against a sales tax increase. It seems like a "we already got ours so f*** everyone else" kind of situation. I know there's more to it than that, but I refuse to believe that isn't part of the motivation. Even in the worst possible doomsday scenario of transit budget cuts, it's not like the Blue Line would just stop running.
http://www.gis.leg.mn/pdf/leg2012/house/63A.pdf

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Re: State Transportation Financing

Postby twincitizen » June 4th, 2013, 2:06 pm

Speaker of the House, Paul Thissen wrote:Thank you for contacting me to express your support for a significant transportation funding bill.

I share your firm conviction that a strong transit system contributes to a region's economic vitality and helps build successful communities--while our roads, bridges, and highways are valuable lifelines for our state.

On May 19 the Minnesota House—with my support—passed the House-Senate Conference Committee Report on HF 1444, the Omnibus Transportation Finance Bill. This measure makes key investments in transit and roads state-wide:

· The bill restores funding cuts and provides an $18 million boost to the Metropolitan Council for metro area transit operations.
· HF 1444 fulfills this year’s state obligation for Southwest Light Rail capital funding.
· The bill allocates an additional $300 million in trunk highway bonding to jumpstart the Corridors of Commerce program that will invest in safety and mobility improvements along key trunk highway routes.
· The measure increases General Fund support for Greater Minnesota transit by over 30%.
· HF 1444 invests $1.7 billion in road construction over the 2014-2015 biennium.
· The bill broadens the authority of all Minnesota counties to impose an annual wheelage tax of $10 by annual vote of individual county boards.
· HF 1444 allows county boards in Greater Minnesota to impose a local option transportation sales tax of up to ½% for road and transit projects.

Two much-discussed transportation funding items—a fuel tax increase and raising the current metro area sales tax for transit—were not included in HF 1444. I am not convinced the public is ready for those proposals. I’m committed to working over the next months to make that case.

Thank you again for sharing your views. Please always feel free to contact me whenever I can be of assistance.

Paul

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Transportation Funding (General)

Postby a_tribe_called_chris » January 4th, 2015, 10:41 am

Did anyone else see this?
http://m.startribune.com/comments/28742 ... ection=%2F

I realized how crazy it is that Minnesota has so many lane miles to serve the vast expanse of the state which is populated with low density. Of course they don't want to pay for it either but what is the solution?

I saw one interesting comment that suggested killing both the renter's rebate and LGA. I would agree that would be one way to help reduce waste. LGA subsidizes rural Minnesota to the point they don't realize what their government costs.

What about mileage based taxation? I think that is a fair user fee that corresponds with the actual driving one does. Obviously this is a problem but blaming transit isn't the solution.

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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby Anondson » January 4th, 2015, 11:25 am

This should be one issue quite a few on the political right ought to be sympathetic to some kind of gas tax, or anything that amounts to a "you use it, you pay for it. And if you like it, pay enough to sustain it."

It is also time to have the conversation about shrinking our roads and stop building roads more expensively than is sustainable for their use. Quite a few rural roads should never have been upgraded above gravel roads and maybe should be turned back into.

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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby xandrex » January 4th, 2015, 11:59 am

a_tribe_called_chris wrote: I saw one interesting comment that suggested killing both the renter's rebate and LGA. I would agree that would be one way to help reduce waste. LGA subsidizes rural Minnesota to the point they don't realize what their government costs.

What about mileage based taxation?
I don't know that cutting transfers to rural cities in order to fund rural roads makes much sense. I also don't have a real issue with LGA itself, but that's a whole other topic...

I'm also not sure that killing the renter's rebate is right either. It's an income-based return, so you're really just taking away a measure that helps make housing more affordable to give to rural roads and highways. Maybe I'm biased because I've received that benefit for the past several years, but it seems like a poor thing to cut (and why no cut for homeowners?).

Mileage definitely makes sense in the long run. For now, I'd take a higher gas tax in one form or another.

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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby nate » January 4th, 2015, 12:11 pm

Higher gas tax is imperfect, but simple to implement, feasible politically, and has the advantage of incentivizing positive outcomes: more fuel-efficient cars, car pooling, transit use, biking, walking. 10 cents a gallon is a pretty reasonable price to pay to safeguard the quality of roads across the state, especially when the current gas tax is inadequate to do the job as-is.

uptowncarag

Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby uptowncarag » January 4th, 2015, 12:12 pm

a_tribe_called_chris wrote:Did anyone else see this?
http://m.startribune.com/comments/28742 ... ection=%2F

I realized how crazy it is that Minnesota has so many lane miles to serve the vast expanse of the state which is populated with low density. Of course they don't want to pay for it either but what is the solution?

I saw one interesting comment that suggested killing both the renter's rebate and LGA. I would agree that would be one way to help reduce waste. LGA subsidizes rural Minnesota to the point they don't realize what their government costs.

What about mileage based taxation? I think that is a fair user fee that corresponds with the actual driving one does. Obviously this is a problem but blaming transit isn't the solution.
Mileage taxation? People will flee the state and I would probably be one of them. I drive around for the hell of it. Tracking mileage would be insane.

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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby a_tribe_called_chris » January 4th, 2015, 12:33 pm

uptowncarag wrote:
a_tribe_called_chris wrote:Did anyone else see this?
http://m.startribune.com/comments/28742 ... ection=%2F

I realized how crazy it is that Minnesota has so many lane miles to serve the vast expanse of the state which is populated with low density. Of course they don't want to pay for it either but what is the solution?

I saw one interesting comment that suggested killing both the renter's rebate and LGA. I would agree that would be one way to help reduce waste. LGA subsidizes rural Minnesota to the point they don't realize what their government costs.

What about mileage based taxation? I think that is a fair user fee that corresponds with the actual driving one does. Obviously this is a problem but blaming transit isn't the solution.
Mileage taxation? People will flee the state and I would probably be one of them. I drive around for the hell of it. Tracking mileage would be insane.
I drive around for the hell of it once in a while too but whose really going to flee the state who wouldn't want to leave anyway? That does sound like the most direct user fee available although the implementation and privacy concerns would be interesting.

Really I am curious to what options there are to fix the roads. Essentially we as a state have too many roads to nowhere that don't necessarily warrant the maintenance costs since they aren't used enough to justify the costs.

As a state we are far from broke but where does all the money go?

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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby a_tribe_called_chris » January 4th, 2015, 12:41 pm

xandrex wrote:
a_tribe_called_chris wrote: I saw one interesting comment that suggested killing both the renter's rebate and LGA. I would agree that would be one way to help reduce waste. LGA subsidizes rural Minnesota to the point they don't realize what their government costs.

What about mileage based taxation?
I don't know that cutting transfers to rural cities in order to fund rural roads makes much sense. I also don't have a real issue with LGA itself, but that's a whole other topic...

I'm also not sure that killing the renter's rebate is right either. It's an income-based return, so you're really just taking away a measure that helps make housing more affordable to give to rural roads and highways. Maybe I'm biased because I've received that benefit for the past several years, but it seems like a poor thing to cut (and why no cut for homeowners?).

Mileage definitely makes sense in the long run. For now, I'd take a higher gas tax in one form or another.
The comment I saw about cutting those items estimated they cost about $775M annually. That would help cover some of the costs.

The renters rebate is a lame wealth redistribution scheme. I've lived in 4 states and this is the only one with that concept. Since homeowners actually pay a tax (that keeps going up) they deserve relief. Renters aren't directly paying that and have more freedom to flee since they have a different level of risk as well. They can move easily when their lease is up.

LGA is not a good policy since it subsidizes rural at the expense of the metro. It feels good though....

I would love to see the legislature come up with some projects including an expanded LRT/street car system, road improvements and maintenance scheme then come to the taxpayers of the state and get our approval on the ballot like they did in Denver. Of course the rural teet suckers would cry about our trains while they continue to live their subsidized lives of the metro's gravy train. It has been established that 2/3 RDS of the state lives in the metro and that the metro generates about 70% of the economic activity in the state as well.
Last edited by a_tribe_called_chris on January 4th, 2015, 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby MNdible » January 4th, 2015, 12:44 pm

a_tribe_called_chris wrote:The renters rebate is a lame wealth redistribution scheme. I've live in 4 states and this is the only one with that concept.
No, it's really not. Rental properties pay a higher mill rate than homesteaded residential properties. Why should renters have to pay a higher mill rate than homeowners? If they did, then that would be a lame wealth redistribution scheme.

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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby Silophant » January 4th, 2015, 12:45 pm

What reasonable argument can there possibly be that it makes more sense to levy a tax to maintain the roads based on the amount of fuel some (well, almost all, currently, but alternative fuels are only going to become more popular) vehicles use than to levy it based on how much the roads are actually used, and thus damaged?
uptowncarag wrote:Mileage taxation? People will flee the state and I would probably be one of them. I drive around for the hell of it. Tracking mileage would be insane.
Just like every business and rich person in Minnesota moved to South Dakota, right?

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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby a_tribe_called_chris » January 4th, 2015, 1:47 pm

Just like every business and rich person in Minnesota moved to South Dakota, right?[/quote]

Speaking of South Dakota that is one of the states that decided to let some roads revert back to gravel. That strategy should be considered here as well. Sorry but little used roads are not a priority.

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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby Snelbian » January 4th, 2015, 3:26 pm

uptowncarag wrote: Mileage taxation? People will flee the state and I would probably be one of them. I drive around for the hell of it. Tracking mileage would be insane.
People keep saying that about taxes in St Paul yet weirdly enough the population isn't fleeing in terror...
a_tribe_called_chris wrote: The renters rebate is a lame wealth redistribution scheme. I've lived in 4 states and this is the only one with that concept. Since homeowners actually pay a tax (that keeps going up) they deserve relief. Renters aren't directly paying that and have more freedom to flee since they have a different level of risk as well. They can move easily when their lease is up.
Why does it matter if the tax is direct or indirect? Are we assuming (as many bizarrely self-righteous homeowners love to) that there are mythical landlords somewhere who pay property tax fully out of their own wallets? And that there are no tax incentives for the poor, unfortunate homeowners being squeezed by socialist renters? Frankly this whole line of reasoning is ludicrous, especially as a means to pay for an unrelated problem.


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