St. Paul proposes sales tax increase to fund road and park improvements

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter (FOX 9)

The City of St. Paul is considering a 1% sales tax increase to help fund improvements to roadways and parks within the city.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter on Tuesday proposed the local sales tax increase in order to make "long overdue" improvements to the city's streets and aging park facilities, stating the increase would provide "a billion dollars to revitalize our city's streets and parks."

Carter said the local sales tax increase would share the cost among residents, businesses, commuters and visitors to the city. 

Currently, the sales tax in St. Paul is 7.875%, which is more than Minnesota's base sales tax rate of 6.785%. According to a news release, a 1% sales tax increase in St. Paul would generate an estimated $984 million in revenue over 20 years.

Mayor Carter and five of the city's seven city council members issued statements in support of the proposal, with many saying increasing the sales tax by pennies will help the city fund necessary improvements. Of the $984 million the sales tax increase would bring in, $738 million would go toward rebuilding and improving roadways, while $246 million would go toward the city's nationally acclaimed parks and recreation facilities. 

The St. Paul City Council will review the proposed resolution to increase the city's sales tax at its Jan. 4, 2023, meeting. If passed, the city will seek approval from the Minnesota Legislature prior to it being presented to St. Paul voters as a ballot measure.