Half-cent sales tax hike back up for discussion

Published 5:31 pm Friday, August 28, 2015

Luverne Mayor Joe Rex Sport proposed an increase in the city’s sales tax at Monday’s council meeting.

He recommended the city add half a cent for every dollar spent, which would make the total 10 cents on every dollar spent.

Sport made a similar request last year, but faced opposition from local business owners who said the city’s lower percentage rate was one of its few advantages over big box chains in nearby counties.

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Crenshaw County did see a half-cent hike in the rate after voters passed last November’s half-cent fire tax. The tax funds local public safety and fire departments.

Luverne sees two of the 9.5 cents on each dollar. The rest is divided amongst the schools, public safety, fire departments and the state.

The state’s portion is 4 percent on every dollar. The average local government adds an additional 4.91 percent, for a total average sales tax of 8.91 cents on the dollar. Luverne’s sales tax is above the state average.

Luverne councilmen recommended raising the taxes before any other special interest sought to raise taxes to 10 cents.

The city last increased sales taxes in January 2003, after Sport took office.

Councilmen will vote on the matter at the next scheduled board meeting on Aug. 24.