MINNEAPOLIS – Tim Walz, the Democratic nominee for governor, is trying to downplay his promise to raise the gas tax after polling shows Minnesotans are not in favor of a tax hike.
Last week, a new poll from KSTP/Survey USA showed Minnesotans are not on board with raising the gas tax. Of the individuals surveyed, 52 percent object to a gas tax increase.
Prior to this poll, Walz has made raising the gas tax a primary talking point of his campaign. On his campaign website, the first bullet point in his transportation plan is to increase the gas tax to “secure a stable funding source for transit and transportation.” Walz has said this plan will resonate with voters, saying Minnesotans are “willing to pay” more in taxes.
“In Minnesota, taxpayers are willing to pay if they believe their money is being spent wisely and its being fair,” Walz said during the “Almanac” debate.
With the poll results fresh on everybody’s minds, Walz is now trying to downplay his intentions to raise the gas tax. During a debate hosted by TwinWest Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning, Walz said he would like to “have a conversation” about the issue.
“I think it is not in our best interest to take that money from the general fund,” Walz said during the debate. “So yes, I have suggested we have the conversation about the gas tax.”
Republican candidate Jeff Johnson was quick to call out Walz on his change of tune.
“Tim, you haven’t said we should have a conversation about the gas tax,” Johnson said. “You said we should raise the gas tax.”
Johnson said he believes a gas tax hike wouldn’t be a good answer, noting that Minnesota is one of the most overtaxed states in the nation.
When pressed further by Johnson, Walz continued to contradict himself. Despite his campaign website saying he “will increase the gas tax,” Walz denied making any promises on the matter. Instead saying he plans to “take a look at them and see.”
To watch the full debate, click here.