The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 29, 2013

Minn. counties split over 'wheelage' taxes


The Mankato Free Press

---- — ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota counties have until Thursday to decide whether they'll tack a $10 charge on vehicle license tab renewals to generate money for local road projects.

There's been a sharp divide on whether to assess a "wheelage tax" that previously was reserved for metropolitan area counties. Minnesota Public Radio News reports (http://bit.ly/16eTpoE ) that the boards of 40 counties have voted to collect the fee. Backers cast it as a road user fee.

Others are resisting because they have doubts it will net much new money for transportation or lead to spending shell games.

Anoka County commissioners have voted to scrap the $5 wheelage tax previously assessed and will sacrifice $1.3 million. The Legislature said counties could charge $10 or nothing, which Anoka commissioner Scott Schulte says handcuffed counties like his.