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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Linda Higgins on Mall of America Project

The conference committee has changed this provision to eliminate the subsidy from fiscal disparities and instead require the Phase II property to contribute to the fiscal disparities pool. It also allows the city of Bloomington to increase its lodging tax up to 1% more citywide, create a special taxing authority within the mall area and impose a sales tax of up to one percent there, also allows the Bloomington city council to create a tax district that must include the mall and any other parts of the city as designated and impose a food/beverage tax of up to 3% and an admissions and recreation tax of up to 1% in that area.

So no more subsidy. I'm much more comfortable with this provision, since the expansion will be subsidized by the shoppers at the MOA and some as-yet-unspecified surrounding area.

For more info, see today's Strib story.

This is still a subsidy. It is a better bill than before because it does not use fiscal disparities to fund this. However the bill is basically a screw Bloomington bill, since it allows other legislators to vote to increase Bloomington's taxes and make the same argument they made about the Twins Stadium. The Bloomington City Council will have to decide whether they want to go through with this subsidy on their own.

The lodging tax will affect people who travel to Bloomington, not voters.

It is nice to hear that Linda Higgins had some problems with the fiscal disparities aspect of the bill. I wonder how she would have voted if the bill had continued to contain the fiscal disparities language.