Insider: Bonding Bill, Natural Gas Price Spike, Taxes
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has called a special meeting Tuesday to investigate a spike in natural gas prices.
Political Insider Blois Olson says there is a concern about the rising natural gas prices after our recent cold snap.
Obviously, that cold snap we had last week, the question is what do we need to do to regulate those prices and make sure people are not gouged.
Minnesota natural gas local distribution companies have been called to answer questions about the spike in prices, how it will affect customer bills, and the extent customer service was affected.
Companies invited to present include Xcel Energy, CenterPoint Energy, Great Plains Natural Gas, Greater Minnesota Natural Gas, and Minnesota Energy Resources.
A Democratic senator is also calling for federal investigations into possible price gouging of natural gas in the Midwest and other regions following severe winter storms that plunged Texas and other states into a deep freeze that caused power outages in millions of homes and businesses. Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith says natural gas spot prices spiked as high as 100 times typical levels, forcing utilities and other natural gas users to incur exorbitant costs, many of which were passed on to customers.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz will head to the University of Minnesota today (Monday) to announce his bonding proposal for this year.
It isn't a bonding year but the state feels it might be prudent to borrow some money while interest rates are really low, and obviously, those construction jobs will help the economy going forward and keep people employed.
Olson says a bonding bill is likely to pass during this session.
Back in October, the State Legislature passed a $1.9 billion bonding bill that had been delayed for several months after last year's legislative session ended.
A poll will be released later Monday that is expected to show Minnesotan's appetites for a tax increase. The poll was conducted by a coalition of over 100 organizations including the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits.
Olson says the initial information released on the poll says support for a tax increase on profitable corporations and households making over $250,000 a year.
They advocate specifically for child care funding as well as making sure people have the necessities like food.
Olson says in a breakdown of three Greater Minnesota Senate Districts, including in District 14 here in St. Cloud, it showed support for taxing profitable corporations at 69 percent to 31 percent. And support for affordable child care with a 74 percent to 26 percent margin.
However, Olson says with Republicans in control of the Minnesota Senate, a tax increase during this legislative session is unlikely.
We do know that we've got significant federal income coming in because of the CARES Act, and then we also have a rainy day fund in the state.
The poll was conducted from December 30th through January 6th. Data for Progress conducted the survey of 2041 likely Minnesota voters.