Cities Seek Legislative Approval for Local Sales Taxes

A League-sponsored bill that would generally authorize local sales taxes for a defined list of traditional capital projects is also in the works.
(Published Feb 4, 2019)

Sixteen cities are expected to seek legislative approve for a local sales tax this session. So far, seven of those city bills have been introduced.

Twenty-two Minnesota cities held referendums last November seeking voter approval for new or modified local sales taxes to fund various capital projects. Of those, voters in 16 cities approved the request. Under Minnesota Statutes, section 297A.99, the next step for those cities is to seek legislative approval through special legislation.

Currently, nearly 30 cities across the state impose a local sales tax. The House Research Department maintains a report of these local sales taxes, including county taxes for transportation uses and other countywide local sales taxes.

Cities that received voter approval

Those cities receiving voter approval last November were:

  • Avon (transportation improvement projects)
  • Blue Earth (Sewer Plant, Streets, Recreation amenities)
  • Cambridge (Library, streets, outdoor park)
  • Detroit Lakes (police department facility)
  • Elk River (rec/park/trail improvements, lake dredging)
  • Glenwood (roads, parks/trails/city hall-police station)
  • International Falls (transportation/public infrastructure)
  • Perham (Perham-area community center)
  • Rogers (trail & pedestrian facilities, aquatic facility)
  • Sauk Center (highway reconstruction & infrastructure)
  • Scanlon (streets and utilities)
  • Two Harbors (infrastructure)
  • Virginia (Recreation & Convention complex improvements)
  • West St. Paul (pavement management plan)
  • Willmar (community center, rec center, parks & stormwater)
  • Worthington (recreational/quality of life improvements)

In addition, during the 2018 session, several other cities had sought similar legislative approval for new or expanded local sales taxes. However, the demise of the 2018 omnibus tax bills left those cities without final legislative approval. Those cities include Duluth, Cloquet, and Excelsior.

Bill introductions

To date, bills have been introduced for the following cities:

League seeking general local sales tax authority

The League will be working with legislators to introduce a bill that would generally authorize local sales taxes for a defined list of traditional capital projects. That bill will likely mirror SF 1875/HF 2663, introduced in 2017 by Sen. Dave Senjem (R-Rochester) and Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake).

The House and Senate Taxes committees will likely hold a dedicated hearing to the local sales tax bills later this month or in March.

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