Statement on Upcoming Wheelage Tax Vote
On July 30, 2019 the Hennepin County Board will vote on increasing the Wheelage Tax from $10 per year per vehicle to $20 per year per vehicle. This decision requires at least a 4-3 majority vote to pass. If successful, the increase would be implemented on January 1, 2020. Commissioner Fernando plans to vote in favor of the increase.
This item has been discussed on June 30, 2019 and July 9, 2019. You can access the videos and minutes from each of these meetings at hennepinD2.com/boardvids.
Definition of Terms:
Registration Fees – The fee Hennepin County residents pay to register a vehicle with the state of Minnesota each year. These are often known as your annual tabs.
Wheelage Tax – A tax paid per vehicle as part of an individual’s annual registration fees.
Why Increase the Wheelage Tax?
Hennepin County assesses our transportation infrastructure on a letter grade scale, which allows us to correctly prioritize public works projects. Over the next 20 years, Hennepin County has projected how much it will cost to achieve a B-level, maintain a C-level, or fall to a D-level of service.
To maintain the current C-level quality of service with our current assets, Hennepin County has a funding gap of about $25M annually. Increasing the Wheelage Tax would generate approximately $10M annually.
Without this tax, we risk further deterioration of our roads and bridges, which impacts safety and lowers quality of service to our residents. Without guaranteed funding from the State, Hennepin County has a responsibility to improve our transportation infrastructure. Increasing the Wheelage Tax is just one of many actions Hennepin County must take to do so.
Have other Counties in Minnesota implemented a $20 Wheelage Tax?
Yes, there are currently 8 Counties with a Wheelage Tax rate of $20. These include the Metro Counties of Ramsey, Carver, and Washington.
How Does This Apply to Me?
Wheelage Tax applies to vehicles registered at a Hennepin County address. Those with multiple vehicles will pay with each registration. This tax does not directly impact individuals who are transit dependent. When you pay your annual tabs, the majority of your registration fees are based on your vehicle's age and value. Wheelage Tax is one component of your overall payment, and if the vote is favorable, it will increase from $10 to $20 (or an increase of $0.88 per month).
What is Commissioner Fernando’s Position?
Increasing the Wheelage Tax from $10 to $20 is one of the more equitable taxation options available. Hennepin County is responsible for 2,200 lane miles and ensuring that our infrastructure is safe, connected, and well-maintained. This increase will generate approximately $10M of much-needed revenue that can be reinvested into our communities.
Commissioner Fernando supports a $10 increase to Hennepin County’s Wheelage Tax.