ST. PAUL, MINN. – A number of provisions that will help Duluth and surrounding areas were included in the Senate’s second omnibus tax bill. Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) introduced the Duluth food and beverage sales tax that was included in the bill; this allows the City of Duluth to increase the rate of its tax by .5 percent. The tax expired in 2012; this will reinstate it for west Duluth development projects. Two tax credits for current and past military service were also included in the bill.
“These tax changes may appear small, but they will make a big difference in our community. The Duluth sales tax, known as the 50/50 tax, will provide the local match to key bonding investments in the western part of our city. By promoting our city’s natural assets, we give visitors more reasons to visit, and more reasons to spend money in our community,” said Sen. Reinert.
Sen. Reinert also worked to include St. Louis County in a workforce housing tax increment financing pilot project which he hoped would help spur critical housing development in Duluth. The amendment to include St. Louis County failed on a voice vote during a Tax Committee hearing. Reinert says he isn’t finished trying to help fix the housing crunch.
“Because of great employment trends in our community, Duluth faces a shortage of housing and lacks needed development. Being included in this pilot program would have been a great opportunity for the city, but it also doesn’t mean we lack alternatives. I plan to continue working with stakeholders on ways to increase housing development in Duluth,” said Reinert.
Reinert also supported a provision that will finally get income tax reciprocity reinstated between Minnesota and Wisconsin. This issue is of particular importance in border communities like the Twin Ports, where people may live in one state and work in the other.
“I have been working on the reciprocity issue ever since Governor Pawlenty canceled the 40-year long program in 2009. Reciprocity is important for Minnesota families, and reinstating it will help simplify their lives. With this provision, we are close to finally seeing action on this important issue,” said Reinert.
Reinert’s two military tax credits would increase the credit amount for current military service members and would double the credit for veterans with past military service who meet a certain set of criteria.
The second omnibus tax bill totals $100.8 million for FY 2014-2015. The Senate plans to vote on the tax bill this Thursday, April 10.