Proposed Minnesota budget includes many fee increases

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton’s two-year budget proposal increases spending by $1.2 billion and includes a long list of fee increases that will hit Minnesota residents directly in the wallet.

Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/2j8e5Oh ) reports that Dayton’s plan includes many items that could be overshadowed, such as a $1 increase to renew a driver’s license. The extra money from the license fee would go toward operating a new registration system for licenses and motor vehicle titles.

A drinking water fee on 1.26 million households, institutions and businesses would rise to 22 cents more per month individually. The additional funds would guard against contaminants and provide emergency response.

The cost of body art licenses will double, or in some cases triple, so that piercing studios and tattoo parlors will be more regularly inspected. Other occupational licenses would also increase to cover the higher costs of criminal background checks.

Some of the widest-reaching fee increases would fall on outdoor enthusiasts, as the Department of Natural Resources is seeking $40 million in extra fees on ATVs, boats, snowmobiles, ski trail passes, state park entrances and more.

“Each part of this budget plays an important role in ensuring that we deliver services to Minnesotans,” said Myron Frans, the state’s management and budget commissioner.

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, who chairs the Senate committee overseeing natural resources finances, is reviewing the fee recommendations. He said he finds them reasonable at first glance and that more funds are necessary to enforce the laws.

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