ST. PAUL, Minn. – Money that is collected to advance a specific goal should be spent only for that purpose, not for unrelated state projects. Currently, 30% of the solid waste tax that is collected to aid local recycling efforts is diverted to the state’s general fund, putting a huge financial burden on local officials who must balance their budgets and increase their recycling rates.
Under a new proposal, 100% of the collected money would go to for recycling grants to counties and cities.
Chief author of the bill, State Senator Bev Scalze (DFL-Little Canada) said dedicating the tax for solid waste activities makes sense for Minnesota. “I call it the garbage tax. It pays for recycling efforts as we run out of landfills. Many people don’t realize they are paying this tax on their garbage bill. Homes and businesses pay this tax and part of it is being spent on non-related projects. That’s not right.”
“The costs of recycling programs are putting pressure on county budgets, which get passed onto residents through property taxes. Returning 100% of the solid waste tax to the MPCA Environmental Fund for recycling grants to local governments would give counties more resources to support their programs and help their communities,” added Scalze.
Counties are covering over $50 million in recycling costs out of their own budgets each year funded by property taxes, while the state has set aggressive recycling standards for metro and rural counties.
“Minnesota counties are very committed to meeting the aggressive environmental goals established by the legislature,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt, Chair of the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board. “But right now, counties are spending 5 to 6 times more than we receive from the state. Correcting the solid waste tax distribution will help achieve recycling standards.”
Senator Scalze’s bill would deposit 75% of solid waste tax receipts into the Environmental Fund in 2016 and 2017; 80% in FY 2018 and 2019 and 100% thereafter.
Senator Scalze added “If you want your solid waste tax to fully fund its purpose, contact your state legislators.”
For information on this or any legislation, please contact Sen. Bev Scalze at 651-296-5537 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.