Sales Tax Proposal to Support Parks

The Mayor’s proposed penny increase would create nearly $1 billion for roads and parks on the ballot in 2024.

On December 27, 2022, Mayor Carter announced a proposed one-percent increase in local sales tax to invest in necessary, long-overdue improvements to Saint Paul streets and aging parks facilities.

“A one-cent sales tax would provide a billion dollars to revitalize our City’s streets and parks while sharing the cost among the many residents, businesses, commuters, and visitors who benefit from them every day,” said Mayor Carter.

“A penny sales tax would help fund necessary investment in Saint Paul’s streets and parks,” said Saint Paul City Council President Amy Brendmoen. “It is one important part of a full funding package that the legislature can support to make our Capital City truly shine.”

The estimated $984 million in revenue generated over 20 years by the proposed one-percent sales tax increase would fund historic investments in regionally significant transportation infrastructure and the City’s nationally recognized parks and recreation facilities, significantly improving the safety of everyone living, working, and enjoying Saint Paul, while supporting the long-term economic vitality of Minnesota.

The Saint Paul Parks Conservancy believes that well-maintained parks, rec centers, and streets are essential for every resident to pursue wellness, life-long learning, and personal growth. Strong parks and safe roads in every neighborhood increase equity for all families. We can attest to the pressing need for new revenue to support the critical infrastructure of our parks and streets. The average age of our park facilities is nearly 40 years old. Our small downtown parks host nearly six million visitors annually, a significant burden on infrastructure and the environment. Current resources only allow for replacing a couple of sport courts and playgrounds every year, which keeps our system falling behind on deferred maintenance. The time has come for big thinking about how the Capital City’s parks, recreation, and streets are funded. The funding effort should also include lobbying the legislature to fully fund its commitment to Local Government Aid (LGA) funding for our Capital City, as well as to fully funding the state-mandated budget appropriation for metro area parks at the full 42% vs. the current 9% that it currently funds.