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ST. PAUL – With the 2017 legislative session now in full swing, State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont), who is the chairman of the Minnesota Legacy Funding Finance Committee, said the list of prospective recipients of this taxpayer-funded revenue source is rapidly expanding.
“Our committee is hearing numerous requests for financing, everything from Minnesota Public Radio programming to new exhibits at the Como Zoo,” Gunther said. “The goal is to find the projects that have most economic value and benefit the most residents in our state.”
Gunther said the committee is a product of the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, which Minnesotans passed into law via the 2008 general election ballot. It raised the state sales tax by three-eighths of 1 percent and diverts that portion to support Minnesota’s outdoors, environmental and cultural causes. The tax generates around $600 million biennially.
Gunther said many of the requests are for new projects that are quite unique and exclusive to rural Minnesota. They include children’s museums in Hutchinson and Mankato, along with an exhibit dedicated to the Jolly Green Giant.
“Trails and hunting fishing habitat make up many of the other requests, but to me, the most important funding provision will center on clean water,” Gunther said. “It’s the most important natural resource Minnesota has as approximately 14 percent of the world’s freshwater is located in our state.”
Gunther said he’s hopeful his final Legacy funding proposal can be debated on the Minnesota House floor by mid-April.
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