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Senjem keeps distance on tax proposal

Senjem calls it quits — from Mayo
Senjem calls it quits — from Mayo

Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem is making it clear he is not a fan of hiking local taxes to help pay for the Mayo Civic Center expansion.

Senjem introduced a bill today allowing the city of Rochester to increase its lodging tax by 1 percent and establish a 1 percent tax on food and beverage sales.But the Rochester lawmaker is recorded as the bill's author "by request," meaning he does not necessarily back the idea.

Senjem has said he favored the idea of extending the city's existing sales tax instead of levying a new tax. I wrote about this in today's column . Meanwhile, the proposal has the backing of the rest of the Rochester delegation.

According to the bill, the tax would expire once all debt and interest is paid off for the center and related skyway access, lighting, parking and landscaping. Senjem said he is concerned the bill is not specific enough as to when the tax must end. Technically, he said the city could leave some debt on the center allowing the tax to go on indefinitely.

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