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Additional Sales Tax Could Fund Events Center

December 13, 2010, 6:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Additional Sales Tax Could Fund Events Center
SIOUX FALLS, SD - One of the biggest questions surrounding a new events center is how the city is going to pay for it.  One idea that got shot down this past legislative session is resurfacing. But just like last time, it could be a tough sell. 

Monday night, the city council will vote on a resolution establishing its legislative priorities for the 2011 session.

That includes asking state lawmakers to pass a bill that would give municipalities the option of adding a local tax in order to raise money for a specified purpose. 

"It actually doesn't refer to a one cent or any kind of limitation on the tax.  It's just about asking the legislature to allow the local municipalities to have control," city council member Greg Jamison said.

Because right now, they don't have that option.  A similar measure failed in the last legislative session, but Jamison says it's not just for Sioux Falls. He says it could help other communities as well. 

"Sioux Falls has a great opportunity for generating all kinds of sales tax revenue because of our size. But a smaller city like Lennox is challenged. So what if they needed help building infrastructure or a new road grader, something like that," Jamison said.

Jamison says the tax would have a sunset clause meaning once the project is paid for, the tax would end. And finally, the public would have to approve it before it kicks in. 

"That's part of it.  The citizens have to vote on it.  It isn't something the council could enact; it has to be all the citizens in that community who would vote on it," Jamison said.

The city estimates an additional one cent sales tax would generate about $50 million a year.

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