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What do you think about Scott County adopting a 1/2 cent sales tax for transportation and transit projects?

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Please don't raise the taxes. My family and I make sure all our large purchases are done in Scott County because the sales taxes are less then surrounding counties. Don't chase business away by increasing taxes. STILL LOOKING for a little clarity on the scope of this tax. Is this a half-cent tax on every sale, or a half-cent tax on every dollar of every sale. Someone needs to clarify that. Generally, I oppose raising taxes. This case is no exception. What return on our investment would people from New Prague, Belle Plaine, Jordan, and the various townships see? Transportation dollars usually flow to Shakopee, Prior Lake, and Savage. With having already extremely high property taxes, very little commercial enterprises and schools that cant seem to stop taking our money. I strongly support NOT raising taxes any further. I think government not only in Scott County but in Minnesota and in Washington needs to learn about responsible spending. What example is our government trying to set? We can spend until all the money is gone and then spend some more and raise your taxes or print more money and deflate the value of our dollar? Lets talk about cutting taxes and allowing families to be able to spend responsibly. Jason Jones I have been riding the bus to downtown Minneapolis for over 20 years. If Shakopee doesn't plan to add more buses, just use those they have now, I still will not be riding from Shakopee. I work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm. and have to try to get to the bus stop before 5:00p.m.? Run the buses on REAL working hours for the people who REALLY work not those who can make their own hours, and I might support your 1/2 cent sales tax. As it is, I oppose it, because it doesn't help the people who can't afford to drive downtown and HAVE to take the bus on REAL working hours. Mike Shaw, Mayor City of Jordan I support the 1/2 cent sales tax proposal for Scott County. We pay an additional tax traveling outside our county and we don't notice it. I believe very few shoppers do? Perhaps we could see improvements in some of the roads in the county? This item needs clarification. The way I read the article is that the Met Council is going to hit Scott county with a half cent sales tax and the County wants to add a half cent sales tax that exclusively goes to the County. Is this correct? Has the half cent from the Met Council been approved? I am normally against any tax increase, but may agree to the half cent to the County if it was used exclusively for road repair and maintenance. If it is just going into the County slush fund I am totally against it. The list of needed items published by the County is unbelievable. I will comment on them at a later time. Matt Lehman Shakopee City Council Member speaking on my own behalf as a business owner and property owner in Scott County. I understand the need for a dedicated revenue stream for roads and transportation however, let me explain my concerns to see if they can be addressed before I will support this tax. Shakopee and Scott County are in the process of merging mass transit operations with MVTA meaning our met council allocated transit dollars will go to MVTA operations (serving our areas). The state is considering a 1 1/2 cent transit tax above and beyond the county 1/2 cent tax, will Scott County be exempt from 1/2 cent of the state 1 1/2 if it should come to be? Better yet, will Scott County write into its proposed bill that should a state transit tax be imposed on Scott county, the county will cancel its local transit tax? We have almost doubled the cost of car tab for the older minimum charge tabs from $35 plus $3.50 totaling $38.50 a few years ago to around $58 today with all the new charges and fees. The inflation calculations used today @2% do not include energy, health care, and food, the 3 highest rising costs and most used/needed items. Add these items in and inflation is around 18%. Unemployment according to DEED is 4% because they only use the number of those receiving unemployment, if we used those no longer eligible for, not receiving, or under employed, the true number is around 14%. We can clearly see the massive needs of the people by looking at Scott Counties increasing budget in the area of housing assistance, energy assistance and so on. Normally government creates a fair tax system where all pay taxes based on market values, the money is then allocated to needs. Shakopee and Scott County have tax abated a very large amount of what could have been new revenue to be used towards transportation needs. My last concern is this, when the state does not send a fair share of road money to Scott County, I complain to my state leaders, if the County and state both take more of my money, I envision a mom dad scenario where I ask why road x is not fixed and the county says its the state funding or the state says its the county funding? who and how do I hold someone accountable? I am fully aware of the needs in Shakopee and can imagine the needs throughout Scott county, I will only support this tax if the County law clearly says it will be repealed if a state transportation/transit tax is imposed on Scott County. I thank the County Commissioners, and staff for their service as servant of the people of Scott county. I am in favor of the $.005 sales taxes if it means safe roads in good repair. I would also love to see all day and weekend bus service. It would be great to have some local services. I would love to be able to give my daughter bus fare and have her go to the mall on her own. That is not possible with the bus system as it exists today. As a Jordan resident already taxed to the hilt with very little to show for it, I disagree with yet another tax hike that will provide little to no advantage to a slowly dying city. In disagreement with Jordan's Mayor Shaw, many, including myself, do notice these continuing tax increases as a shopper, commuter and property owner, and make a point of doing a majority of my purchases as far away from Jordan and Scott county as is possible as a matter of principle, thus supporting communities that are making positive changes. Opinions like this from our "representatives" is evidence of the disconnect from the government that exists, and hopefully what this site may begin to reveal. First I want to thank the Scott County board for holding a public hearing and making this a topic of discussion. If we framed this question honestly, I think it would be: "Would you rather have Scott County implement a 1/2 cent sales tax where the use is at the discretion of the county board, or would you prefer a 1/2 cent (or larger) sales tax implemented by the Met Council?" Unfortunately, I believe that it's unavoidable that this tax is coming, but since it is, I would prefer that our local board remain in control of the funds. Historically, whenever we partner with the Met Council, the majority of our funds leave Scott County. This is one small way we can keep the dollars within our borders. Our current county board has demonstrated that they are prudent with our tax dollars, so I trust them to use them wisely, or maybe even reduce our general tax levy. Let's keep our tax dollars and control local! Well nobody likes new taxes, but I would rather impose a 1/2 cent tax in Scott county and have that money stay in our county. Much better than going into the whole metro area funding for transit. That way we control it instead of those who may not even live in our county and could care less about the roads here. As another poster said, I too try to make my large purchases in Scott county since the sales taxes elsewhere are higher. Tax me higher here and I'll shop elsewhere. I also agree with other posters that this proposal needs clarification: is it one half cent per sale or one half cent per dollar of sales. Also, there needs to be a stipulation to drop the tax if the MetCouncil adds another transit tax to us. Looking at the brochure on the subject, I think that parks and trails development should not be funded by these dollars. Additionally, in the fist page of the brochure is states that "A provision in recent legislation allows non-CTIB counties to levy a sales tax of up to 1⁄2 percent – and the funds CAN be used for local transit or transportation projects." The key word in that statement is CAN. What is the guarantee to the tax payer, both local and traveling through, that the tax will be used for what it was intended and not get shuffled to some other fund or unrealted project? Furthermore, will the tax ever end? The brochure states specifically under approach 1 in the last line of italics portion that aside from operating expenses, any tax must end when funds are sufficient for the project. Is the County going to have an endless wish list of projects so that the tax is never terminated, or abuse the system and call every project jointly improvement and operation. I support the premise of keeping tax dollars local and using them for exactly what they are designated for, but the way this tax proposal stands there are too many unknowns or loopholes for abusing the system that leaves the local taxpayers on the short end yet again, but this time with less money in our pockets than before. I very much agree with raising the tax. More miles driving yet higher fuel efficiency means significantly less tax money collected and allocated toward roads. Like the 8.5 cent increase a few years ago, this is a step in the right direction toward maintaining pavement quality, improving road safety, and reducing bottlenecks. I know many people who avoid many of our counties attractions (Ren Fest, Valley Fair, Mystic Lake) because of transportation related issues. If we don't keep up with the expenses now as the county is growing then in a few year the congestion will cause further development to grind to a halt. I attended the board meeting on 4/1/14 and sadly, was the lone ordinary taxpayer addressing the Board in opposition to this new tax they want to impose on us. The mayors of Prior Lake, Savage, as well as a council member from Shakopee and few business people were all in favor of the tax. The only other opposition came from a representative of CAG. We need more ordinary taxpayers participating in these hearings. Below is my address to the Board for those of you interested in what I had to say. I’m Alexandra Matyja from Prior Lake. Thank you for this opportunity to make my voice heard. I’m just one of many ordinary taxpayers striving to cope with the real and difficult challenges that we are forced to face every day. Having lived under the communist regime, I know for a fact that those in the ruling class hardly ever feel the pain of ordinary taxpayers. So, I would like to paint for you a picture of the true reality that most of us must deal with. Regardless of what the government tells us, we know that the inflation rate is much higher than 2%. A simple trip to the grocery store or the gas pump plainly confirms it. Our hard earned dollars simply do not go far enough these days. Many of us have lost our jobs and are forced to cope with long term unemployment. Those fortunate enough to land a new job, have had to settle for drastic salary and benefit decreases. Many of those who are willing to work full time are not able to because employers are cutting down on work hours. All of us are forced to make drastic adjustments in our lives. We have to scale down or eliminate dining out. Instead of steak, we have to settle for pizza. We have to postpone that big purchase that we dreamed about and saved for, because we have to leave more of our dollars in the grocery store and at the gas pump. We have to evaluate our basic needs and our wants, and then make discriminatory choices. But it’s becoming more and more difficult to cut items from our budgets when all the wants have already been eliminated. But what about our ruling class? They never appear to be hurting. Instead, they keep coming up with creative and never-ending ideas for taking away more of our money, and spending it on their pet projects just because they can. This past week I received my property tax statement. This year it’s going up 6%. That’s on top of the 10% increase last year. I also recently received my renewal for the tabs on my 14 year old Chevy Malibu. There was a $10 wheelage tax included. I remember not that long ago we had no wheelage tax. Then it was instituted at $5, and in just a few short years it has doubled. Do any of you honestly believe that it will remain at the new rate of $10 from now on? If you do, you must also believe in Santa Claus. Unlike the Board of Commissioners, ordinary taxpayers are not able to vote themselves salary increases. We are also not able to force our employers to grant us much needed pay raises. And most of us certainly do not earn 6 figure salaries. In these lean times, for many of us it has been a while since we’ve seen a pay increase, much less a 4% pay increase. So it is very difficult to stomach 4% increases for our commissioners, and even higher increases for our sheriff, and county attorney, knowing that all of them are coming out of our own pockets. So, no, I am not in favor of a new transportation sales tax. It does not matter that it’s only half a cent. I don’t believe in Santa Claus, and I know that it will not remain at a half a cent for long. We have too many taxes already. We don’t need a new one. If our ruling class needs more money, I suggest they face reality like the rest of us have to. Tighten your budgets, eliminate your wants, concentrate on the needs, and don’t spend money you don’t have. And if you have to borrow, then don’t spend more until you pay off what you already borrowed. Furthermore, start refusing state and federal goodies. We all know that they come with strings attached. Instead, start governing wisely, efficiently, and autonomously. And eliminate all waste and abuse. We have a great example just to the east of us. In a short time, Scott Walker has changed a $3.6 billion deficit to a $1 billion surplus. And then, get this, he came up with this crazy idea - to return most of this surplus to its rightful owners – the Wisconsin taxpayers. I suggest that all those who are fond of making rules for the rest of us learn from Mr. Walker. Obviously he’s doing something right. And who knows, if cities, counties, and other states follow, perhaps, just perhaps, a domino effect would erupt that would help to restore much needed fiscal sanity to all of America. Sadly, our public officials, seem to have forgotten that they are supposed to be our servants, and they no longer seem to care what the taxpayers want, what we need, or what is right. This needs to change. Will you let it? Or? If we drive our car, will you tax the street? If we try to sit, will you tax our seat? If we get too cold, will you tax the heat? And if we take a walk, will you also tax our feet? I would support the full 1/2 percent tax increase but only because I do not want our tax dollars being siphoned off into a metro wide pool that we would likely get very little in return for. However, the increase should be written in such a way that if the legislature doesn't pass the law that requires us to join the metro wide group, the county increase would automatically be repealed. I do believe we need more money for roads and bridges. I do not believe we need more money for mass transit. I support as much local control as possible and believe the best way to pay for roads is through a gas tax or mileage tax. I understand current law does not provide for local gas taxes but this is where the legislature should be persuaded to change the law. I am against any sales tax increase. I don't see any guarantee that this increase will stay in Scott County. I understand it to say it CAN stay in Scott County. Also, there was an amendment for the voter's a few years ago.It was a transportation bill implying it was going for metro roads but in fact went towards light rail. No matter how pleasant & honest our public officials present themselves to push their programs, I don't believe them. Their track records show they usually lie to us. I am old enough to remember the original 3% state sales tax. It was only temporary until the desired funds were raised. We can see were that went. What is our current sales tax now? Stop spending on foolish items & programs & start controlling fraud & waste! I am in support of a 1/2 cent county sales tax to be used for projects in Scott Co. We need to keep up our infrastructure. First, we need clarification as to exactly what will be taxed and if the county uses the funds for which it is specifically intended for "funded county projects."  Conventional wisdom tells me we should enact a half-cent local-option sales tax before the legislation goes into effect, thus retaining more transportation dollars in Scott County. Hopefully, this process will prevent the lobbying group Move On Minnesota and their coalition partners and the Met Council out of our taxpayers’ business. Our elected representatives are paid to protect the best interests of the taxpayer instead of handing it over to a lobbyist group. However, common sense leads me to believe if we act on the onetime opportunity Use Tax for Scott County, it doesn't mean we have to implement the tax immediately. By law, the sales tax sunsets once we complete the road projects. If enacted, I would support this only if the taxpayers have an opportunity to weigh in and cast a vote on any or all county-specified "funded county projects." However, before funding any new projects, we need to fix, manage and maintain existing problems. Voting on projects could prevent us from constructing another dangerous “intersection to nowhere” like the Arcadia and County Road 21 in Prior Lake. It could also prevent another four-lane freeway running through our backyards—our once quiet little "good quality neighborhoods" along County Road 21 up to Highway 169. I've lived in Prior Lake for more than 32 years, and every highway project so far has been a detriment with little or no improvement to my lifestyle or pocketbook. I'm not impressed by the way my tax dollars are spent and I'm sure I'm not the only one. We are frustrated and tired of hearing roaring exhaust systems that can be heard and felt over a wide distance, rattling windows and traveling through walls. This includes noise from trucks, “Jake Braking,” illegal motorcycle exhaust noise, all traffic noise and excessive speed in general.”  This is blatant disrespect not only for the residents of Prior Lake, but for everyone along Hwy. 21 to the Hwy. 169 junction. Lack of knowledgeable law enforcement officials and the unwillingness to enforce the law doesn't help matters either. Correct me if I'm wrong, but, of all the project descriptions listed, nowhere did I see any projects for noise abatement. After several years of residents complaining about noise abatement without any recognition from the county or city, it's disconcerting and tells me where their priorities lay. Several months ago, a petition was started by several Scott County residents on Change.org petitioning noise abatement and law enforcement. Imagine my surprise when I was informed by the Scott County engineer that all emails from Change.org and my personal emails would be blocked by the county. Go to Change.org and type in City of Prior Lake, Scott County and read the comments from the unhappy residents . Lastly, if transportation money is needed to fund roads for the millions of visitors that the entertainment venues attract and profit from, I suggest the county enact an entertainment fee for each ticket purchased. If the entertainment businesses balk at that, I suggest you install toll booths. John K. Siskoff Prior Lake I would agree with the tax increase only if the money generated by the tax stayed in Scott County for the use of the County. Also, a portion of the funds must be used to improve public transit in the County. Scott County like all local governments are stressed to keep up with transportation demands. Some sort of additional tax to pay for transportation infrastructure may be inevitable. My initial concerns are several. Are there plans to "share" this revenue with muncipal and townships for local projects? What about the wheelage tax, which was doubled effective January 2014? (when introduced a number years ago, this tax was to be the method for counties to fund local road projects) Would the County consider opting out of the wheelage tax if this new source of transportation funding becomes a reality? Have efforts been made to secure funds from the state given the huge windfall surplus the state has realized? Several of the upcoming projects occur on State Highways. Are plans in place to shift the majority of these costs to the State? Thank you Craig Anglin - Prior Lake I would be against this extra tax. We already pay enough between property tax, income tax, sales tax, permits, fees, licenses, wheel-age tax, gas tax, trucker fees. The money will be used for some pet project may not even be one currently under consideration and the rate of 1/2% will at some point not be enough again and need to go up. I think it is an ok decision to tax for this in the short term. My concerns are 1. That it will become permanent, (my thoughts are 10 years maximum and then needs voter approval to continue) 2. that there be more public input on major project needs. Also, I question the building of any new bridges (unless over water) because of current and future costs. No, no, no and no. Did I say no yet? Any transportation and transit projects should be supported by the gas tax. Forcing the gax tax out of the general fund is the proper thing to do. If and when that is done there will be more than enough money to support transit in all of Minnesota. It is because most of that money goes into the general fund to other sources is where we have issues. I know doing that will not fix the problem but it will isolate on what is needed and what is not by exposing what the gas tax is going towards today. In other words, it will force other areas to a different source of funding but will make them stand on their own. If this was forced down our throats which it could. - We need an absolute hard lined sunset date. - We need provisions forcing transportation and scott county. - We need a snapback to eliminate the tax, if the environment changes, like being forced into joining the other counties for what ever reason. - We need a guarantee if any other increases in taxes over the next ten years this gets repealed. (Implying the sunset date would be 10 years) (Also, implying this would be the only increase on the books in the next 10 years) I would have to say no to any tax. I don't think you at Scott County are thinking at all. Unemployment is not decreasing, defaults on mortgages are increasing, food prices are increasing at an enormous rate, fuel prices are increasing, today higher than last year. All utility prices are increasing, actually have already increased for this year. Many seniors are stressed out with social security not covering their expenses. Many others, not seniors, are living off of food stamps, food shelves or month to month, hand to mouth. Insurance has gone to you know where in a hand basket under Obamacare. Obamacare has destroyed about 1/6 of the insurance/medical industry which means people have to dig deeper into any money they have to pay for medical expenses. Many in the health field are losing their jobs. Obamacare has taken $ 500 million plus out of Medicare, which affects a lot of people, to use in Obamacare. The middle class of the population has all but been destroyed. And any tax you conceive hits the middle class and seniors hard. You are only asking for 1/2 a cent. 1/2 a cent and 1/2 a cent makes a penny. A penny here and a penny there can add up. Especially for those with no extra pennies. But mostly I cannot fathom why anyone would want us to give any more of our hard earned money to the or any government. All the government seems to do is take our pennies and put more regulation on us as citizens. And I for one am tired of regulations on us, while the "politicians" get rich and richer. Crooks they seem to be. So a big NO to any tax. Maybe instead you could find a way to give us a tax refund. Carol New Prague It took years too fill that Strip Mall where Village Market which became a Lunds is; 1/2 cent sales tax (on every dollar?) will make it more expensive to shop in Scott County. Scott County will have vacant buildings everywhere. Full disclosure is vital to having the ability to give a fully informed opinion on this question. I am reminded of the concern and frustration that happened in our most recent vote for the new high school proposal for Shakopee. It is great to ask for citizen opinion but I want more info as to what is on the docket that needs this money. What has been discovered to be the monetary shortfall for each project and that all avenues for revenue have been exhausted. Many of the comments I have read so far communicate that there is little trust and faith in our decision makers. When you say we need to ask for more money I want to see that there is no money. Where is the revenue expenditure schedule that shows the shortfall? I love the idea of a forum!! Give me more info and communication using a forum could work really well. Absolutely not. How many new taxes are required to support transportation funding? We need to fund roads and bridges, but mass transit riders should pay for their own transportation. The truly poor should get passes funded out the general fund where necessary, but there's no reason everyone should have to pay for commuters to get downtown. Finally, I'm offended that some are extorting tax increases with threats to increase other taxes that wouldn't later be controlled locally. The users should be paying for the use of the service. Let's not get into the mess that Minneapolis is in, where the taxpayer pays for the transit user to ride. If you are able and willing to use the service, you should be able to pay for the service. If it is not economical for the user to pay for the service, then maybe we should rethink the offer of the service. The introduction states that this tax increase “could generate about $6 million every year.” What this actually means is 6 million dollars will be taken from me and other hard working families like mine. If these transportation and transit projects are a good idea, find the money to fund it without raising taxes. I have to make tough choices in my monthly budget; government should too. I will not support any tax increase; too much of my income is already taken from me by taxation. As someone who sits in the nightmare traffic every morning going north on 169, I am for something that helps ease the congestion. With Shakopee building more homes and business, the traffic is going to get even heavier. We either need to add another lane, bridge or commuter option over the river soon before we start losing residents over quality of commute. Im not saying this tax is the answer but something needs to be done. I think it would be a good idea to raise sales tax to improve Scott County transit if "transit" includes improving roads to accommodate high traffic volume. For example, where CR 42 reduces from 3 lanes to 2 lanes as it enters Scott County from Dakotah County would be a good example of improving transit on roads with high traffic volume. In addition, the left turn lane from west bound CR42 to south bound CR27 should be lengthened and the light should stay green longer to accommodate the high volumes of traffic heading south. The left turn lane was placed there before CR 27 extended down to Prior Lake and before the high school was built. Trying to turn south at that intersection during rush hour is very difficult, taking at least 2 signals and often time 3 signals. People frequently go through red lights at that signal. Furthermore the traffic to go south at 27 frequently backs up to McColl. If the extra 1/2 cent tax is only to improve rapid transit bussing activities, that only affect commuters going to Minneapolis and I don't think it would be worth it. However to improve local bussing and transit for those who don't have other forms of transportation (including transit for kids in after school activities), it would also be worth it. I would like you to support the sales tax increase. I am a life-long resident of Scott County. I have benefitted from your support of our county road system which gave me good access to my work site over the years. I am now retired and like many seniors I am looking for more transit options as I drive less and less. As I am sure you are aware, there is a huge tide of seniors in Scott County who will be looking for transit options. It is my hope you can help us all out in this regard. Normally, I'm against any additional tax increases. This one is different. If the money is raised in Scott County, stays in Scott County and the projects are beneficial to all and done in a timely manner, I'll all for it. I put a lot of miles on every year and I am so sick of sitting in traffic because MNDOT always puts a band aid on a congestion area rather than fix it. We are forced to live with two lane roads for years until they can "find the money" to add a third lane. Then by the time they add the third lane in their 20 year plan, we need a fourth lane. But now we have to live with congestion on a 3 lane road when they should have recognized the need for four lanes right away(I'm talking about 494 and the 169 bridge). We've waited forever for the new 101 bridge to be built. Ten years ago you could see the problems with this bridge flooding out and only a single lane in each direction that becomes a bottle-neck anytime the weather is bad - for example Thursday morning April 17th after a light snow the night before.They are always years behind. For all of you that just say no to all new taxes, consider this. You and I pay a princely sum in property taxes each year based on the value of our homes. How crazy is that? Why should someone with a more expensive home pay more to the city and county when the city spends just as much effort plowing the street in front of the more expensive house as they do a less expensive home? The police never come to my house. They spend their time elsewhere. Why are taxes paid to the school district based on the value of your home rather than the number of kids attending the public schools? What I'm saying is that the way we pay for government services is not fair. Yet this 1/2 cent tax seems to be fair to me. It's a sales tax. Everyone pays the tax when they buy something. That goes for low income people to high income people. Everyone uses the roads in Scott County to get to the store to buy the things they pay taxes on. One suggestion for the county: allow us to review this tax every 5 years and rescind it if the public sees no improvement or the money is being wasted. Now if only the commissioners can be trusted to choose the right projects..... In response to our lovely moderator. I still say no way. Let me clarify my first statement. Gas Tax: Federal highway funding makes up a significant portion of the entire MN highway budget. These funds can be used for things such as bike paths, buses, and light rail. These funds are distributed at the state and local level. Obviously these people have not made very good decisions on how to spend this money in the past. The condition of our roads speaks to this fact. Why would you give them more to misappropriate? If roads need to be repaired, and we all seem to agree they do, why would our politicians decide to build light rail and the like instead of taking care of the roads? It is like being given money to buy food for your family and opting to go to the casino with it instead of the grocery store. In addition: Minnesota also raises hundreds of millions with the "motor vehicle sales tax." The fact is, 40 percent of motor vehicle sales tax money goes to transit, things like light rail and buses. Again, if we need roads and bridges repaired, why in the world are we spending money on this crap? These people cannot be trusted with this money. Do not grant them their wish. History shows these people cannot be trusted to spend it without misappropriating it again. When this money is gone, they will come out of their little caves once again with their hat in hand saying they need more money from you. Wake up people. As long as roads remain a problem, business for our politicians remains good and they always have a reason to beg for more money to spend. Want to find more money to fund this? Go here: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2012/04/every-day-tax-day-somewhere-minnesota See the health and human services potion of the ‘where our taxes go’ chart? That is 41.8% of the pie my fine friend. The largest chunk of MN taxes. You cannot tell me there isn’t any kind of waste there. Let’s start to look at these areas of waste and weed out the unnecessary expenses and re-route some of this money instead of letting the waste continue and asking the hard working people of MN for more tax dollars. RE: weed inspectors - again, REALLY? This is something we cannot cut from the budget to help fund roads????? --------previous statement--------- No way. The gas tax was meant to fund roads only (user fee). Instead it funds roads, busses, rail, bike paths, you name it. Now you want to create a duplicate tax to tax everything we purchase to fund these same things and create another pot of money to pilfer from? Are you crazy? We are not stupid people. This is an insult to our intelligence even bring this up for debate! I read in the local Scott Scene paper (April/May 2014 page 5) about a general notice to control or eradicate noxious weeds upon your property. Enforcement of this requires the services of “weed inspectors”. REALLY???? How about we eliminate these and other types of frivolous expenses to cover this new endeavor? Don’t ask me for more money until you quit throwing it away. First, thanks for opportunity to comment. This online option is much more convenient than trying to attend your meetings during normal work hours. I am against the 1/2 cent sales tax. Why more taxation when it's the over spending and indulgence in funding more and bigger social programs that is becoming a burdon to our County. Further, what are the projects to be gained by this TAX and are the dollars going to general fund where they are available for non-transportation social programs. Stop taxing us and work for smaller government. Scott County has said for 25 years that roads and transit are its priority. We finally have a chance to get dedicated funds to help pay for these projects and people freak out about "new" taxes, not realizing that they pay that exact same tax whenever they leave Scott County. It would be short-sighted to leave this potential money "on the table," especially when visitors to our entertainment venues would pay the bulk of it. Scott County has always been extremely fiscally conservative, but not jumping on this opportunity because of the rants of "hard working citizens" would be stupid. I support the adoption of the 1/2 cent sales tax for the dedicated purpose of transportation & transit projects. Population growth in Scott County necessitates a more robust plan for maintaining and improving our transportation system. This plan must be adequately funded over a sustained period of time. Funding cannot be left to the whims of the political system if we expect significant improvement in our system. Having this type of new tax spreads the burden among all users - those who live in Scott County and those who pass through to work/play/etc. Almost all other Metro counties have seen their way clear to levy taxes dedicated to transportation - it is time Scott County did the same. I am for it. It will help us get better roads and bridges. I request that the Scott County Sales Tax increase be disapproved. Minnesota already has one of the highest State tax rates in the nation. Since the Minnesota Sales Tax was implemented in Scott County it has increased 240%, from 3% to 7.125%. The future tax increases can be approximated based on the rate of past change over time. If the trend continues, our children will be paying about 17% Minnesota Sales Tax by 2060. So how will Scott County get to a 17% sales tax? It's by a little increase here, and a little increase there, again and again. I think the current tax rate is sufficient to provide an outstanding quality of life in Scott County. I ask the County government to use the current tax rate effectively, innovatively, and wisely; and not increase the current rate. It seems to me a few years back there was a similar sales tax hike that was approved by the voters that was suppose to be used to fix our roads. But, the money from this tax hike is not being used to fix roads, but is being funneled to mass transit. And now, our MN government is borrowing money in the form of bonds to fix our roads. If this tax money had been used for it's initial purpose, perhaps we wouldn't need to be asking for more money from the tax payer. So my vote is a big "NO", until our government can be honest and do what the tax payers asked this money be used for. I am against an increase in the sales tax for transportation and transit projects. Scott County currently has around an $80M operating budget. It is very convenient to ask for new taxes to grow the government sector instead of doing the responsible thing and remove waste from the current budget. Like a commenter posted earlier, the sales tax has increased from 3% to 7.125% in MN. If this passes, what do you think will happen the next time Scott County is given the ability to raise taxes? Do you truly believe 0.5% is it? The argument that since Anoka and Hennepin Counties are already taxing non-residents on goods and services to pay for their roads means Scott should do the same thing is absurd. We have the choice to travel where we want to travel, and to purchase goods and services where we want to purchase them. If you are mad that they are getting your money to “improve” transportation in their counties and we in Scott aren’t, then stop purchasing things in those counties and support business in Scott County. Having had the opportunity to have lived in a number of other Midwest states, I will say that in Minnesota we are already drowning in all sorts of taxes & fees compared to other states with very similar services, education, and quality of life. So I say NO to the proposed sales tax. Scott county and the state of Minnesota need to learn how to live within their means. While more funds are certainly needed to improve our highway infrastructure, those funds must come at the expense of other programs as other states have done. Scott County's business owners should know that I consider myself very lucky. Since my work takes me through several other states, as certain taxes have increased I have already been able to shift some of my purchases to states with realistic taxation policies. I am sure that I and others like me can shift even more of our business if this sales tax increase is approved! I am against this. The taxe increases at both state and federal level these last few years is stunning. And rather than ask citizens for a increase, with no context, rather give them the options. What cost shifting options are available? What else could we stop to do this instead? If you want government engagement by the us all, give us the options so we can make informed choices. Vs. a simple "yes or no" on a single request. That's bad process. Bad government. I would approve a 1/2 cent tax only for roads to be repaired and updated. NO trains. Not enough people ride them and they can only survive with tax payers paying most of the fare. Buses are flexible, carry more people, are cost effective, do not block intersections, do not destroy businesses on routes, and do not destroy vegetation, animal habitat, and trees. I am tired of taxes, taxes. We need to be smart about spending money and not pick the most expensive options unless necessary. Most Americans need their cars and will use them. Not public transportation. I am NOT in favor of this additional tax! They have already doubled the “wheelage tax” and now they want even more? Raising the sales tax will most certainly result in my family not shopping in Scott County. As it sits now, while it’s more convenient for me to shop in Burnsville, I shop in Savage because of the lower sales tax rate. If Scott County raises the sales tax I will most defiantly go back to shopping in Burnsville, especially if they are looking at a .5% increase in sales tax. In my case, increasing the sales tax will result in less tax revenue for Scott County. We are taxed enough!

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Response from Speak Up Scott County Admin

Maybe a little clarification is needed.

The Scott County Board decided not to join the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) and levy a ¼ cent sales tax for transit when it formed in 2008. (The county boards in Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Dakota, and Washington counties opted to join.) Last year, the Legislature permitted counties not participating in CTIB to levy their own transportation sales tax up to ½ percent. This is the issue currently under consideration by the Scott County Board. To date, there has been no other sales tax approved for transportation in Scott County.

Perhaps you were thinking about the voter-approved Constitutional Amendment passed a few years ago in a statewide vote. That action didn’t include a sales tax hike; it constitutionally dedicated the sales tax on motor vehicles for transportation and transit purposes. Let us know if we misread your comment, and thanks for giving input!

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April 24, 2014, 11:22 PM

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April 19, 2014, 9:43 PM

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