Which is worse: The Minnesota Republican Party’s half-century of opposition to all gas tax increases or Gary Lindsay’s April 12 letter attacking Medicare?

Answer: They’re equally shortsighted and irresponsible, but the Republican Party’s position continually produces much more harmful consequences.

We need a 20-cent gas tax increase now, because there was only one increase in the past 30 years (2008), a phased-in 8.5 cents that was merely half of what was needed. Since 1988, we have been falling further and further behind in dealing with transportation deterioration and rising costs.

The fault here lies squarely with the Republican Party’s “no tax increase” position. It can be popular; but that doesn’t make it any less shortsighted and any less irresponsible.

All gas tax increases since 1968 were pushed through by the DFL. Of the six rogue Republican representatives in 2008 voting with Democrats to override Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of the gas tax increase bill, only one was reelected as a Republican.

If Republicans complain the gas tax is regressive, let’s ask: Are you willing to replace regressive taxes with adequate progressive income tax increases?

And it seems at least premature to go after environmentally advantageous all electrics and hybrid electrics for big tax increases when about 99% of vehicles on the road are gas or diesel.

The deeper problem: Falling further and further behind has become the trademark of the Republican Party — whether the issue is the gas tax, economic inequality, infrastructure, climate change, health care, Social Security, educational opportunity, social issues (race, gender, women’s equality, family planning, religious freedom, comprehensive immigration reform), or even democratic institutions (with Donald Trump in office).

Ron Yezzi

Mankato

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