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Monday, April 17, 2006

A suburban mayor comments on the Twins stadium tax....

Thanks to Judy Johnson, Mayor of Plymouth, for providing some great insight into what the Mike Opat/Steve Kelley plan for a Twins stadium could actually mean.

Additionally, the plan includes a property tax increase! Most people don't know this but it does. Cities were mandated to pay sales tax on all purchases in the early 1990's when the state experienced revenue shortfalls. This proposal increases that sales tax which is paid for by property taxes. Democrats and Republicans are rushing to offer tax relief bills this session - each in their own way. I would suggest either repealing the sales tax on cities altogether or at a minimum - exempt cities from this proposed increase. Additionally, the Twins deal proposes to exempt the stadium project from paying sales tax - the very tax imposed on everyone else. How ironic that essential city projects like water treatement plants, police stations and ice arenas ALL have to pay sales tax to add to the state general fund. The stadium proposal will raise this hidden sales tax on property taxes. Also, when cities want to enact a local option sales tax - they are REQUIRED to get a vote of the people. That still does not guarantee they will be able to go forward with the project because they STILL NEED legislative approval in addition to the referendum requirement under current MN law. It just doesn't seem fair that the Twins stadium gets a different set of tax rules - does it? This is very poor tax policy. Hopefully legislators will pay attention to the details. I am not anti-stadium - I am for good tax policy.

Again, it is very important for all taxpayers/consumers to contact their legislator this week to comment on the tax implications.