St. Paul voters approve sales tax hike for roads and parks
St. Paul voters have approved a 1% sales tax hike to upgrade roads and parks.
Driving the news: The measure, known as Question 1, won support from 60% of voters in Tuesday's municipal election, per preliminary results.
Why it matters: The increase, which breaks down to an extra one cent for every dollar spent, will generate an estimated $1 billion over the next 20 years.
- Yes, but: The city will have the highest sales tax rate in the state as a result, at 9.88%
What they're saying: Supporters, including Mayor Melvin Carter, argued that the increase will allow the city to pay for overdue upgrades without making steep budget cuts or raising property taxes.
The other side: Critics raised concern about the impact on businesses and pointed out the majority of the city's infrastructure won't benefit from the big boost.
Zoom in: The bulk of the money generated by the tax will be used fix 44 miles of the city's major roadways.
- The remaining $246 million will be used to chip away at a $100 million maintenance backlog for city parks.
Between the lines: Local governments — and voters — gravitate toward local sales taxes because, in theory, it allows people from beyond the city limits to chip in for projects of regional significance.
Of note: Food, clothing and medicine are exempt from sales taxes.
What's next: The tax hike takes effect April 2024.
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