Senator Erik Simonson: Plan to Repair Duluth’s Streets by Boosting Local Sales Tax Receives First Public Hearing

St. Paul, Minn. – The Senate Taxes Committee today held its first public hearing about a voter-approved plan to finance local street repairs by increasing Duluth’s sales tax. Senator Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth), the chief Senate author of a bill to facilitate state approval of the sales tax increase (Senate File 2603), provided public testimony in support of the plan.

“Street repairs are a priority for Duluth residents and businesses,” said Sen. Simonson. “Today’s hearing represents an important step forward toward affirming the will of Duluthians who voted for change in last November’s ballot referendum. Duluth approved a plan to repair our streets and the Legislature should respect that local decision.”

The Senate Taxes Committee “laid over” the bill for possible inclusion in the Taxes Conference Committee Report, which House and Senate members will begin discussing later today.

In a statement, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson thanked Sen. Simonson for his leadership to facilitate legislative approval of the sales tax increase to finance street repairs:

“Last November, Duluth residents voted overwhelmingly in support of a dedicated sales tax for streets. The ballot referendum question passed in every single precinct with 76% support citywide. Now, we ask the Minnesota legislature to confirm the will of voters and allow this funding strategy to be implemented. Our thanks to Senator Simonson for his leadership in securing a hearing for this important, reliable and voter approved concept, which allows all users to co-invest in the roads system built to sustain their commute, tourism and daily transportation needs.”

Sen. Erik Simonson and Mayor Emily Larson testify on Duluth's sales tax boost to repair the city's streets.
Sen. Erik Simonson and Mayor Emily Larson testify on Duluth’s sales tax boost to repair the city’s streets.

Local sales tax rules are codified in Minnesota Statutes, section 297A.99. More information about the Legislature’s role in facilitating state approval of changes to local sales tax rates is available here.

Video replay of today’s hearing will be available here later this afternoon.

Erik Simonson represents District 7 in northeastern Minnesota.

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