Minnesota’s Scott County Board voted 4-1 on May 12 to add an additional 1/2-cent sales tax and $20 motor vehicle excise tax in order to fund local transportation projects for the next seven years.
A law passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2013 permits counties to raise transportation funds for specific projects by implementing a $20 excise tax on motor vehicles, a $10 wheelage tax, and/or a 1/2-cent sales tax increase. While debating whether to implement such a tax within Scott County, Administrator Gary Shelton stated they received more than 200 comments, which grew increasingly positive as the vote neared. The Shakopee Valley News reported that Commissioner Tom Wolf was convinced to approve the bill, despite his personal resistance to approving a tax increase, when every city and township in his district voiced support for the measure.
Without the increase, Scott County Commissioner John Ulrich stated the county would not be able to provide the approximately 20 percent match necessary in order to take part in regional road and bridge projects. The sales tax is anticipated to generate $42 million during its seven-year lifespan, which Ulrich estimates could be leveraged into an estimated $200 million of transportation infrastructure projects.