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ST. PAUL – State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) was troubled by a House Democrat proposal that would allow counties to impose a half-cent sales tax. The goal of the legislation is to allow counties to use these new revenues to avoid imposing property higher taxes.
“This is nothing more than an invisible tax increase that the Democrats are hoping people won’t notice,” Gunther said. “This sales tax revenue won’t guarantee law enforcement protection and it won’t guarantee stable property taxes. The only guarantee in this bill is that everything at the store would cost more.”
Gunther said the county sales tax would eliminate a county’s share of Local Government Aid from the state, and would replace any other local sales tax that had been approved by a city.
Gunther noted that even if counties agreed to force the sales tax on its residents, it wouldn’t receive all of the funds. The bill proposes a $230 million sales tax increase, assuming all counties participate. Of this amount, the state will get $115 million and counties would receive $105 million.
“This would give Minnesotans another reason to travel across the state line and make big item purchases,” Gunther said. “Why would you buy a car in Minnesota if you can save several hundred dollars by driving into Iowa?”
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