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After a bumper crop of new sales taxes approved in 2023, legislators eye limits

Voters in more than two dozen Minnesota cities and five counties will have local sales tax proposals on their ballots this fall after the Legislature approved a record number of sales tax proposals in 2023, but there could be stricter guidelines next time a city seeks a sales tax.

Until recently, it was rare to see a local sales tax outside Minneapolis and St. Paul, and regional hubs like Duluth and Rochester. But in the last five years, sales taxes have been enacted in suburbs and rural cities, with more cities making the argument that projects should be funded with a sales tax. Rules around sales taxes require the projects to be a "regional benefit," but what that means has been highly open to interpretation, and cities have had to ask the Legislature for permission.

"It seems kind of silly that municipalities have to come cap-in-hand to us, to ask permission to put something on their own ballot," said Sen. Aric Putnam, DFL-St. Cloud. "It made more sense to me that we come up with rules."


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