Letter: Citizens urge caution on sales tax hike
The Scott County Board will vote on Tuesday, May 12 on whether to impose a half-percent county sales tax for transportation-related projects. One reason cited is the possibility that the state Legislature will selectively impose a transportation tax on Scott and Carver counties, the two counties in the metro area who don’t currently have a transportation tax.
The presumption is that if Scott County imposes a transportation tax, the state tax would be reduced by the amount of the local tax. This would permit use of tax dollars in Scott County instead of having the state collect the taxes for indiscriminate use by the Metropolitan Council. A second reason is that visitors who use our county roadways would be helping with the cost when they make taxable purchases. It has been projected that the county tax would produce $6 million in annual revenue.
While Citizens for Accountable Government (CAG) is not enthusiastic about new taxes, we applaud the county’s motivation. Keeping tax dollars in Scott County and having visitors who use our roads help pay for them is good. But suppose the county board imposes a new tax, and the state Legislature does not. Under this scenario, taxpayers are simply stuck with a new tax that they wouldn’t have had if the county had not acted.