Record number of cities, counties seeking local sales taxes



The speed limit on Shepard Road in St. Paul was reduced from 50 to 35 mph because of all its potholes.

As he sat down to testify at the Minnesota Capitol on Tuesday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter joked that his pitch for collecting a sales tax in the capital city began during the morning commute - when lawmakers from across the state could see firsthand the dire need for repairs on heavily potholed streets.

"An estimated 7 million visitors come from all over the region to St. Paul each year to experience our businesses, museums, attractions, shopping, restaurants, entertainment districts," Carter told lawmakers. "A sales tax proposal uniquely invites those avid users of St. Paul streets and parks to be a part of the solution to maintain them."

St. Paul is among a record number of local governments in Minnesota - at least 31 cities and five counties - that are seeking permission this year from the Legislature to put sales tax requests before voters. The local taxes are becoming an increasingly popular way for cities and counties to share the costs of capital projects and infrastructure improvements with out-of-town visitors.


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