Dear Rochester, Aren’t ‘Revenue Enhancements’ Just ‘Taxes’ In Fancy Pants?
In Rochester, Minnesota, there are taxes. And then there are "revenue enhancements." Are they the same thing? Rochester City Council Member for Ward 5, Shaun Palmer says, "Sure. You can go with that. We're calling it revenue enhancements."
Click play to hear the short conversation (click HERE for the automatically generated transcript):
Back in early 2020, the City Administrator said the reason for "revenue enhancements" was "...due to an awareness that our general fund, which is funded by tax dollars, can only handle so much demand." (Read the whole article on "revenue enhancements" here.)
On Monday, July 19th, the Rochester City Council's study session included natural gas and street light "revenue enhancements." I thought that sounded an awful lot like a tax, so we talked about it.
According to Palmer, there are two ideas being discussed. A Lighting surcharge and then a natural gas franchise fee. The lighting "enhancement" would bring in about $1.4 Million (Rochester has about 10,000 streetlights). "I think we'd raise a bout $3 million in revenue on, on the gas one." said the council member.
Would these "revenue enhancements" bring our tax rate down? No. The exchange went like this,
Shaun Palmer (00:52): There's one argument that, you know, if you're charging this amount for taxes and you charge this much more for streetlights, then lower my taxes. And that would be a great idea. Right? Don't think that that's one of the ideas that it's going to make pass, though.
James Rabe (01:09): It'd be a good idea.
Shaun Palmer (01:11): It would be wonderful. I would be for that. I think that that makes sense.
The purpose of the "revenue enhancements" isn't to bring in more revenue to dedicate to streetlights. The expected $1.4 Million would go to the general fund, as would the franchise fee.
Listen to the entire conversation with Councilmember Palmer with the Rochester Today Radio-On-Demand-Podcast.
As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
And since I wrote this on a Thursday and the meetings are in Downtown Rochester, I think this gallery is a perfect match.