St. Paul mayor wants a sales tax increase to fix the roads 

St. Paul just approved a double-digit property tax increase. 

sales tax
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter is calling for a local sales tax increase to fix his city’s mangled roads. (Alpha News)

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter is calling for a local sales tax increase to fix his city’s mangled roads.

Sean Kershaw, St. Paul’s director of public works, told WCCO that this year’s historically wet winter and the city’s aging roads have created the worst potholes “in a generation.”

He said the city will have a plan to repair the roads come April, but Carter is asking the legislature to approve a one percent sales tax increase to “help solve this problem for others in the future.”

If approved, the tax increase would then be voted on by city residents.

According to the proposal, the tax hike would generate $984 million in revenue over the next 20 years, $738 million of which would be used to rebuild and improve St. Paul’s roads.

The city claims that without the tax increase, St. Paul’s roads will get even worse. A 2019 report from the St. Paul Department of Public Works found that the city “will not be able to maintain the existing level of road conditions” without additional funding. The department predicted that the condition of the roads will drop from a rating of “fair to poor” to “very poor” over the next 20 years.

“Fix the damn roads,” Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, told the mayor on Twitter last week after a colleague popped a tire.

“The roads look like they belong in a war torn country,” she said. In response, Carter urged Franson to support his sales tax proposal.

The one percent increase would make St. Paul’s sales tax the highest in the state (8.8%), according to the Center of the American Experiment, which pointed out that St. Paul just approved a double-digit property tax increase.

Even some Democrats have criticized the 38 cities that are asking for sales tax increases, including Rep. Aisha Gomez, chair of the House Taxes Committee, according to Axios. She told the outlet that sales tax increases are “the single most regressive tax tool that we have,” saying they impact low-income residents the most.

“St. Paul cannot sustain our roads without a major investment,” said Jason George, business manager of IUOE Local 49. “This is an equitable fix that will allow all those who enjoy the City to take part in sustaining its future.”


Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.