Minn. Dem would let counties raise sales taxesby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A DFL state representative is proposing a plan to allow counties to raise the sales tax to offset cuts in state aid.
State Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Glyndon, said his plan would give counties the option of raising the sales tax by one half of one percent to continue funding core local services.
He said the plan is a better alternative for counties than raising property taxes to recoup cuts in state aid proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
"If I'm a homeowner, and I've lost a job, I have more control over a sales tax that I pay than the property taxes I pay. Property taxes are fixed. Sales tax, I can decide what I want to do by what I purchase," said Marquart.
Voters who oppose the sales tax increase could try to stop it by gathering signatures to force an election on the tax increase.
The Revenue Department projects that property taxes will increase $626 million over the next three years if Gov. Pawlenty's budget plan is approved.
The chair of the Senate Taxes Committee said he doesn't like the House proposal, because it would help some counties more than others.