An article published in the Bemidji Pioneer on Friday, February 15 explained voters would decide on what has become the Great Outdoors and Heritage Amendment. The following are some of the highlights from that article, but you can also read the full story by Don Davis by linking to Voters to Decide Outdoors, Arts Measure.
The 10 year-old proposal to amend the Minnesota State Constitution and increase Minnesota state sales tax 0.375 percent was easily passed by state lawmakers this past week. The amendment’s sales tax increase is targeted at directing benefits to the outdoors, environmental, arts and history programs throughout the state and could become an important part of our heritage for these areas for generations to come.
The effort began a decade ago as a way to keep funds flowing to outdoors programs such as improving wetlands, cleaning the state’s water, and funding parks and trails. However, poor support from urban lawmakers led to the attachment of arts and history programs.
The biggest complaint about the measure is that it amends the State Constitution to dedicate the funding. Some legislators would rather see decisions made on funding on a year to year basis. But the numbers break down like this: The tax would cost the consumer four cents on a $10 purchase and the average Minnesota family about $56 per year, however the collection would produce $244 million in the year 2010 and increase slightly thereafter.
Thanks to a House vote of 85-46 and Senate vote of 46-17, the proposal will bypass the governor and go directly to the voters in the November 4 general election.
Everyone has their own agendas in an election year. Getting the word around on why we need to support an increase in sales tax in an already wavering economy to preserve our outdoors, arts, and historical heritage should prove to be a daunting task for proponents of the proposal.
What do you want to be part of our legacy for generations of Minnesotans to come? How do you see this proposal; a compromise of our State Constitution, a preservation of our outdoors, arts and history heritage, simply as another increase in taxation, or a twisted wreck of the three?
The LPR wants to hear your comments!