State of the Streets Forum Held in Lakeside

Mayor Emily Larson Talks About Her Proposed Sales Tax Increase

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Mayor Emily Larson is asking for a half percent sales tax increase to pay for road repairs across the city.

Mayor Larson held a forum tonight to explain the details of her plan to residents and hear their questions and comments.

Mayor Larson is asking Duluthians to decide through a referendum on November 7th if they want to pay that additional half percent sales tax to triple Duluth’s street repair budget.

On Monday, the mayor told residents at the Lakeside Lester Park Community Center why she believes a sales tax increase is the best way to fund street improvements.

She thinks it’s better than using existing resources, implementing a gas tax, or increasing the property tax levy because a sales tax forces tourists and commuters to also pay for the roads they¬† use.

“I think that ensuring that all of those users are paying into the system is actually the most fair and equitable approach for you and for us,” said Mayor Larson.

Duluthians at the meeting could ask the mayor questions and share their thoughts about the proposal. Most of the questions were centered around which streets would be affected by the proposal and which would get higher priority.

Mayor Larson says this proposal would add $7 million every year to street and sidewalk repairs.

“You’ve been the ones telling me you want a plan,” said Mayor Larson. “This is what I proposed and you get to tell me if you think it’s the right one.”

The mayor said if the referendum does not pass and they don’t come up with another source of funding, budgets may be cut in some city departments.

Another “State of the Streets” forum will be held on Thursday, October 26th at the Duluth Heights Community Center.