Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

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helsinki
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Re: Gold Line (Gateway Corridor BRT)

Postby helsinki » August 21st, 2015, 4:08 pm

VAStationDude wrote:Los Angeles County isn't impacted negatively because businesses and residents don't have other options. There are no flat valleys adjacent to the Pacific ocean sitting undeveloped next to L.A. Minneapolis, relative to Los Angeles County, has very little to offer adjacent locales can not.
LA county has to compete with Orange county, Ventura county, and San Bernardino county. To say that business and resident poaching exists would be putting it mildly.

I disagree that Minneapolis has little to offer that adjacent locales cannot also provide. Minneapolis (the city, with St. Paul) is really the only urban place in MSP. The city has a wealth of amenities: natural, cultural, academic, financial, political, etc. Although the suburban counties have a few wealthy homeowners and some corporate campuses, they essentially have nothing to offer except cheap land. With deindustrialization, this isn't much of an incentive to a high value-added company. Except maybe for warehouses and tract subdivisions.

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Re: Gold Line (Gateway Corridor BRT)

Postby intercomnut » August 21st, 2015, 4:25 pm

Mods, can you please shut this down?

helsinki
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Re: Gold Line (Gateway Corridor BRT)

Postby helsinki » August 21st, 2015, 4:26 pm

intercomnut wrote:Mods, can you please shut this down?
Not sure how the financing of regional transit lines is unrelated to the Gold Line . . .

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Re: Gold Line (Gateway Corridor BRT)

Postby VAStationDude » August 21st, 2015, 4:31 pm

I know they've increased the sales tax on half cent increments three times. I just don't see a 1.5% sales tax as a possibility in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. The vast majority of voters in Los Angeles County live in dense urban areas. Less than a third of Hennepin County's population lives in Minneapolis. Imo a hefty transit sales tax would be massively unpopular especially if the Minneapolis and Saint Paul get nearly all the improvements as the arm chair transit planners would have it.

I'm interested in what is possible. We're not going to abandon rail in Kenilworth for federally funded rail in uptown nor are Hennepin County voters going to tax themselves for transit. an idea that would never be implemented isn't worth aspiring to.

Orange county is built up. Ventura and san Bernardino counties are far flung. Ventura is built up along the coast. The Inland Empire and Simi Valley are a crap holes. L.A., assuming they don't completely run out of water, has what can't be found very many other places on earth - a huge valley next to the ocean and wonderful weather.

I don't like the suburbs either but Minneapolis could not complete if we taxed ourselves at the kind of rate necessary to build 3c & north Minneapolis rail, operate those lines, the existing lines and the urban bus system. Our current system could use another quarter cent injection and a large dedicated bus funding stream but it's still pretty good.

helsinki
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Re: Gold Line (Gateway Corridor BRT)

Postby helsinki » August 21st, 2015, 5:02 pm

Fair points.

Still, Hennepin encompasses the wealthiest suburbs of MSP. I think a 1/2 or 1/4 cent self-imposed tax, if dedicated solely to transit, would generate sufficient revenue to significantly upgrade service. Not 12 mile 17 station rail lines with tunnels and bridges. But maybe shorter, cheaper, and, dare I say, more sensible lines would be well within the realm of possibility.

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Re: Gold Line (Gateway Corridor BRT)

Postby amiller92 » August 22nd, 2015, 8:57 am

helsinki wrote:First, what LA County has done is phase in 1/2 cent sales taxes via referendum. Not percentage.
Um. A cent is .01 dollars, no (or a half cent, .005)? How is that different from a percent?
Second, the appropriately analogous entities are Hennepin and Ramsey counties, not the core cities alone. I think if these two counties chose to levy a fraction of a cent tax devoted exclusively to public transportation within those counties, not only would the inter-municipal tax race to the bottom prove ephemeral (if it happened at all) but the outcomes from a transit design perspective would be superior in every respect to the garbage that the current system is generating.
County would be better, but Minneapolis already has an extra .5% sales tax (.75 in some circumstances) that both generates non-trivial revenue and has not led to any races to the bottom that I can see.

helsinki
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Re: Gold Line (Gateway Corridor BRT)

Postby helsinki » August 22nd, 2015, 11:36 am

amiller92 wrote:
helsinki wrote:First, what LA County has done is phase in 1/2 cent sales taxes via referendum. Not percentage.
Um. A cent is .01 dollars, no (or a half cent, .005)? How is that different from a percent?
Yes, obviously you can express any nominal value as a percentage of another value. But raising a tax by a percentage is in relation to the original tax or purchase. A cent (or half cent) is not in relation to anything - it has a fixed value. For instance, if you buy a pair of shoes for $100 and sales taxes are 1%, then you pay $1 in sales taxes, or $101 (since you're in some fantasy land). If a cent tax is added on to that purchase, you pay $1.01 in taxes, for a total of $101.01. If sales taxes were raised 2%, the sales tax would be 3%, making the total cost of the shoes $103.

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Re: Transportation Funding

Postby Tiller » August 22nd, 2015, 2:43 pm

In this context, they are basically the same though, since it's implied that the tax is 1 cent per dollar, which is a 1% increase in absolute terms. It's mostly quibbling, though.

helsinki
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Re: Transportation Funding

Postby helsinki » August 22nd, 2015, 3:03 pm

Tiller wrote:In this context, they are basically the same though, since it's implied that the tax is 1 cent per dollar, which is a 1% increase in absolute terms. It's mostly quibbling, though.
I'm not sure I follow.

A sales tax of 1% on $1 is 1 cent, yes. But this is the only time this is true. A sales tax of 1% on a restaurant bill of $250 is $2.50. So . . . it makes a huge difference whether the tax is expressed as a percentage of the purchase price or as an absolute value.

Is there something I'm missing here?

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Transportation Funding

Postby FISHMANPET » August 22nd, 2015, 3:20 pm

So I think what helsinki is saying is that it's not a percentage tax, it's just literally an extra cent tacked onto to every transaction, whether that transaction is one dollar or a billion dollars.

But as best as I can tell, that's not true. Prop A, Prop C, and Measure R are all percentage taxes, totaling 1.5% on sales in the county.

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Tiller
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Re: Transportation Funding

Postby Tiller » August 22nd, 2015, 3:33 pm

1 cent/dollar = 1%.

1% of a 250$ restaurant bill is $2.50, while a tax of 1 cent (per dollar) would be 1 cent for every dollar, which is still $2.50.

It's basically simpler way of explaining a 1% sales tax, because saying 1 cent per dollar is an easier concept to pitch to one's constituents.

A cent is an inconsequential amount of money to the average person, so describing sales taxes as a fraction of a cent also makes the tax boogeyman seem less menacing. Describing such a tax as a percentage brings to mind larger amounts, though, because a percentage scales.

So, it's actually meant to be a bit subconsciously deceptive, though that's the case with many choices of words.

Edit: didn't notice the new page, explanation was for Helsinki

helsinki
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Re: Transportation Funding

Postby helsinki » August 22nd, 2015, 3:46 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:So I think what helsinki is saying is that it's not a percentage tax, it's just literally an extra cent tacked onto to every transaction, whether that transaction is one dollar or a billion dollars.

But as best as I can tell, that's not true. Prop A, Prop C, and Measure R are all percentage taxes, totaling 1.5% on sales in the county.
You're right! That is deceptive. This whole time I thought it was literally 1.5 cents being added on to every transaction.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Transportation Funding

Postby FISHMANPET » August 22nd, 2015, 3:56 pm

Yeah it's super confusing. So here's the LA Metro page that lists the 3 taxes: http://www.metro.net/about/financebudget/taxes/
It says "percent" (well actually uses the % symbol).

The Wikipedia page on Measure R (there don't appear to be pages on Proposition A or Proposition C) confusing says "half cent" sales tax. Maybe it's implied/assumed that every sales tax in the world is percentage based? I don't really know.

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Re: Transportation Funding

Postby twinkess » August 22nd, 2015, 7:41 pm

So I thought when "cent" was used in this context it was just short for percent.

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Re: Gold Line (Gateway Corridor BRT)

Postby David Greene » August 24th, 2015, 11:22 am

seanrichardryan wrote:[Hey David, I've got a fab old Brunswick case Phonograph I'd like to unload, with lots of records. Any interest?
Check your inbox.

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Re: Gold Line (Gateway Corridor BRT)

Postby David Greene » August 24th, 2015, 11:26 am

VAStationDude wrote:nor are Hennepin County voters going to tax themselves for transit.
I think they would. Ramsey too. I don't see a 1/2 cent sales tax as impossible in those two counties. No, we couldn't limit investment to the core cities but we're hardly doing that now, either. I could easily see this passing if the promise were to build the system (within the counties) as planned plus extras (including enhanced bus routes, streetcars, etc.).

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Re: Transportation Funding

Postby David Greene » August 24th, 2015, 11:29 am

helsinki wrote:You're right! That is deceptive. This whole time I thought it was literally 1.5 cents being added on to every transaction.
I don't think that's how it's done anywhere. It's always a percent of the sale, expressed either as a percent or as an amount relative to one dollar.

When people say, "1/2 cent" I don't think, "literally half a cent." It's understood that it's a percentage. It's not deceptive at all.

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Re: Transportation Funding (General)

Postby mattaudio » August 24th, 2015, 11:55 am

Exactly, except in cases where we literally levy a tax as a price per unit rather than as a rate of sale. Our gas tax is like this. 28.5 cents per gallon. Meaning it is eroded as gas prices rise (but it is insulated from gas prices falling). At the current $2.65/gal rate, our state gas tax represents a 10.75% tax. But if gas prices rise to $4/gal, then the effective gas tax *rate* would fall to 7.1%. But yes, any time people talk about things like sales taxes in terms of cents, and there's no "per gallon/pack/unit/etc" involved (and thus we assume it is per dollar) it is talking about percentages.

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Re: Transportation Funding (General)

Postby Viktor Vaughn » August 24th, 2015, 5:00 pm

Another example was Chris Coleman's shortlived proposal for a 'nickel a beer' sales tax to fund the Vikings stadium. But 'per dollar' is implied unless otherwise specified.

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Re: Transportation Funding (General)

Postby Mikey » August 26th, 2015, 7:54 pm

Viktor Vaughn wrote:Another example was Chris Coleman's shortlived proposal for a 'nickel a beer' sales tax to fund the Vikings stadium. But 'per dollar' is implied unless otherwise specified.
I thought it was only 2 cents a beer. Although I personally had a "great" idea about a nickel a beer tax... but this ain't the right thread
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