Support State Legacy Act

The Legacy Act will provide dependable funding for state environment initiatives.

Last week, a joint panel in the Minnesota Legislature unanimously voted to allow voters to decide on a constitutional amendment that will increase funding for state environmental initiatives and the arts through an increase of the sales tax. We encourage Minnesotans to learn about and support this amendment, as it will provide dependable funding to aid and maintain the natural and cultural resources that make Minnesota, Minnesota.

If approved by voters, the Legacy Act, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, and House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, will raise the state sales tax by three-eighths of a percentage and the revenue will be dedicated to preserving wildlife, cleaning up the water in state lakes and rivers, park and trail maintenance and to state arts programs.

This will create over $275 million in much-needed new funding each year for the next 25 years. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s 2008 inventory, 846 state lakes and rivers do not meet quality requirements, with a total of 1,475 separate impairments. Money allocated to conservation and the environment from the state’s general fund cannot sustain the cleanup efforts alone.

Along with protecting and cleaning up Minnesota’s natural areas, nearly 20 percent of the added sales tax revenue will go toward the arts. While the inclusion of the arts was originally intended to widen support for the Legacy Act, it will help to sustain state arts initiatives through education, access and the preservation of historic sites.

We applaud the Legislature for passing the Legacy Act swiftly and early in the session. Now, we as voters have the opportunity to choose to support our state’s lakes, rivers and arts initiatives in order for them to be available for our future enjoyment.