St. Paul's $1 billion pothole problem at the Legislature
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter is pledging to continue his push for a 1 cent citywide sales tax hike to pay for parks and roads, even after the proposal got the cold shoulder from the House DFL.
Driving the news: St. Paul is one of dozens of local governments seeking the Legislature's approval to put a local sales tax hike on the ballot this year.
- But House Tax Committee Chair Aisha Gomez, who generally opposes the approach, didn't include any of the proposals in the sweeping tax bill she unveiled this week.
By the numbers: The current sales tax rate in St. Paul is 7.875%, per the state Department of Revenue.
The intrigue: The House bill does include $30 million for St. Paul roads. Gomez told reporters that an "acute need" to address streets in the capital city warrants a one-time appropriation to buy lawmakers time for a bigger debate over local taxes and funding.
What he's saying: Carter, who made the pitch to raise $1 billion via the sales tax a centerpiece of Tuesday's State of the City address, told reporters that while he "appreciates Chair Gomez's acknowledgement that St. Paul needs resources to invest in our infrastructure," the city needs a long-term funding source.
- "We have 20 years of work that we have to be able to do," he said. "So we're just looking forward to continue to make making that case."
Between the lines: Carter has been actively lobbying the Legislature on the proposal, testifying at bill hearings and meeting privately with Gov. Tim Walz and House Speaker Melissa Hortman.
What we're watching: The Senate has yet to release its tax bill.
- Carter said he's hopeful that the proposal will be in that version, keeping it in the mix for end-of-session negotiations between the two chambers.
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