Cloquet sales tax long overdueHow in the world, or in this case, the state, has Cloquet been passed over time and time again when it comes to letting residents decide whether to establish a local city sales tax?
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
How in the world, or in this case, the state, has Cloquet been passed over time and time again when it comes to letting residents decide whether to establish a local city sales tax?
Hermantown has a local sales tax through the Minnesota Department of Revenue, as does Proctor and Two Harbors. The city of Duluth somehow found a way to impose and administer its own local taxes. And those are just the cities in this area. Minneapolis, Mankato and New Ulm are a few of the others around the state with local sales taxes.
The tax, which would likely be .5 percent, is now a better idea than ever with money to the city from Local Government Aid all but disappearing entirely. Since 2004, Cloquet has had its LGA reduced by approximately $2.1 million. At that time, the city was receiving a total of approximately $3.5 million from the state per year. If the latest proposed $405,000 cut becomes reality, the city will be down to $1.4 million in funding in 2011.
City officials have been in a cutting state of mind ever since the first unallotment in 2004 and everyone involved seems to agree that further cuts will affect streets, parks and even police protection.
All that said, I know many of you are thinking “not another tax!”
But look at it this way – this tax doesn’t only affect Cloquet residents, but the thousands of people who stop at businesses in the city every day. Records from 2008 showed that more than 35,000 motorists a day drove through Cloquet on Highway 33 or Interstate 35. It’s a major thoroughfare with more businesses than ever that could capture that tax. Estimates show the tax could bring some $500,000 to the city per year.
Unfortunately, Cloquet has been denied the opportunity to let citizens vote on it several times in the last decade.
Mayor Bruce Ahlgren has been charged with lobbying legislators for that right to vote on it during this year’s General Election, and you can too.
Contact Senator Tony Lourey at 651-296-0293 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Representative Bill Hilty at 651-296-4308 or 800-788-1329. Hilty’s e-mail is email@example.com.
Tell them you want to keep the city beautiful and safe despite funding cuts. Ask for the chance to vote on a local option sales tax for Cloquet.