Metro area prepares for increase in sales tax

Metro area sales tax hike

Metro area sales tax hike

So, what does a 1% sales tax increase mean to you?

“1% by itself doesn’t mean that much,” said Sam Benzkofer, a University of Minnesota junior. “Depends on what you’re buying or how the math works.”

For a struggling U of M grad student, it’s one thing.

“Yeah, just trying to make sure everything balances out every month,” noted Anneke von Seeger. “Personally, I split expenses with a partner, so for grad students on their own, it’s even a bigger deal.”

For James Allen, shopping in downtown St. Paul, it’s something else.

“I mean it’s a penny on the dollar, it doesn’t mean that much,” he said. “That’s part of being a community.”

How much you’ll pay as of Sunday, with that 1% added in, will depend on if you live in one of the seven affected counties.

They include Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Washington, Scott and Ramsey Counties.

Hennepin will be the highest at just over 8.5%.

Some cities will be going even higher.

Excelsior, Edina, Maple Grove, and Minneapolis will be paying the most, at just over 9%.

The 1% increase was approved as part of this year’s state budget

“Everything is going to cost all Minnesotans more,” declared House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth (R-Cold Spring) at the time.

Governor Tim Walz disagreed.

“We’re pretty sure it’s going to mean a fair, more inclusive, more prosperous Minnesota,” he said.

Representative Michael Howard (DFL-Richfield), Chair of the Housing Committee posted on ‘X’ that the 1% will raise up to $200 million per year to help with affordable housing and rental assistance.

But most of the tax revenue will go toward public transportation, including safety efforts on Metro Transit buses and trains.

Clothes, groceries and prescriptions are exempt from the sales tax.

“If people wanted to fund these services or programs, they could have done it with the existing budget,” said John Reynolds, the State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

The group represents 10,000 small businesses in Minnesota.

Reynolds says one of his members’ biggest concerns is that Minnesota consumers will cross the border to shop in places like Hudson, Wisconsin — where the sales tax is 5.5%.

He says businesses and customers in the seven impacted counties will feel the difference.

“They’re feeling this coming and going right?” he said. “So, they pay the sales tax themselves on their inventory, on their supplies and their customers are going to absorb the sales tax on the other end.”