St. Paul voters to mull property, sales tax increases over next 2 years

St. Paul childcare property tax bill will go to a public vote

St. Paul childcare property tax bill will go to a public vote

The St. Paul City Council will ask voters to approve two separate proposals to increase taxes with the goal of supporting infrastructure improvements and child care costs.

A question to increase the city’s sales tax by 1% will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. If passed, it is estimated the penny tax will raise almost $1 billion over the next 20 years for streets, bridges, parks and recreation centers.

The measure passed 6-1, with Council Member Jane Prince casting the only no vote.

RELATED: Question on St. Paul ballot will ask for sales tax increase to fund road, bridge maintenance

A second question to raise property taxes won’t appear on the ballot until Nov. 5, 2024. If passed, it will create a fund to help families afford child care and early learning centers.

It will ask to raise property taxes by $2 million each year over the course of a decade. The average homeowner would see their bill go up $16 the first year and $160 within 10 years.

All but two City Council members, Mitra Jalali and Russel Balenger, approved the ordinance.

Maria Snider, who oversees dozens of kids at Rainbow Child Development Center in St. Paul, says the measure is long overdue. Almost all of the kids who attend her facility live in poverty.

“It breaks my heart,” Snider said. “… There is not enough state or federal resource to cover what it would be what would be needed for kids in St. Paul.”

Council Member Rebecca Noecker, who co-sponsored the ordinance, says it doesn’t have to be this way.

“In Minnesota, we are the fourth most expensive state in the nation for childcare. So families struggle to afford it,” she said in an interview before the vote.

RELATED: Local sales tax proposals could be tough sell in metro area

If voters pass both measures, it would mean two more tax increases on top of a new metro-wide sales tax increase and a 15% property tax hike that hit St. Paul homeowners this year.

“I think that St. Paul voters vote their values and generally are willing to make those investments for things that matter,” Noecker said.