Legislature slows Duluth plan to fix the city’s streets

Not so fast, Duluth.

Despite voter approval, state lawmakers failed to ratify a ½-percent sales tax in the Duluth to fix the city’s streets. The city projected generating $7 million annually through the local sales tax hike.

All that was needed to impose the tax was a ‘thumbs up’ from the Legislature. The plan required no state money.

Duluth mayor disheartened

Reacting to the legislative inaction, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson who spearheaded the sales-tax-for-streets idea told the Duluth News Tribune she was disheartened. “It’s frustrating to have such a clear message sent by the electorate and to not have that honored.”

She’s not the only one disappointed.

The News Tribune Editorial Board called the Legislative inaction “a massive failure.”  The Star Tribune Editorial Board warned that the legislative inaction “will fuel a growing sense among Minnesota local governments that state government is no longer a reliable partner.” 

This issue isn’t dead. Larson intends to bring her city’s request to authorize the voter-approved local sales tax back to the Legislature in 2019.

And, don’t count her out. As reported in an earlier Bye Bye Potholes blog post, Don Ness, a friend and former mayor, said earlier this year: “She’s a young woman and she’s just getting started. The sky’s the limit.”