RAEDI Board votes to support renewal of the City of Rochester’s half-cent sales tax

ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) Board of Directors passed a resolution last week to support the renewal of the city’s half-cent sales tax that would raise $205 million to support four major projects, including a $65 million regional recreation and sports complex, street reconstruction projects ($50 million), an economic vitality fund ($50 million), and $40 million for flood-control and water-quality projects.

The RAEDI Board has requested $5 million of the $50 million proposed under the economic vitality fund, to replenish the current Economic Development Fund (EDF). The EDF was developed in 2012 after the renewal of the half-cent sales tax, with $5 million designated to the creation of the Fund. Since 2012, the EDF has provided 46 investments which has resulted in the creation of 180 livable wage jobs. More than $169 million in funding has been raised by portfolio companies (52x EDF amount received). Also worth noting is that nearly 50 percent of the companies have been women or minority owned businesses.

“Renewal of the local sales tax will help ensure that we have the proven tools we need to continue to grow, expand, and diversify our economic base. The EDF doesn’t just amplify our investments in local job creators, it turns every $1 into a $52 return on our investment. To lose this vital tool would be to turn our backs on Rochester’s most potent catalyst for growth,” said RAEDI President John Wade.

“The dollars raised with the half-cent tax are crucial in helping spur economic growth and expansion in Rochester. The RAEDI Board is pleased to support the passage of the half-cent sales tax,” said RAEDI Chair Melissa Brinkman.

The current sales tax will expire at the end of 2024 when it is expected to reach its goal of raising $139.5 million approved in 2012. Projects that resulted from the 2012 sales tax include the Career and Technical Education at Heintz (CTECH), the sports infrastructure at Rochester Community and Technical College, the growth of the University of Minnesota Rochester, airport improvements and road and trail expansion, and 125 Live Senior Center.

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