Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, April 26, 1999

Wright County to tax exported gravel

By John Holler

When the State Legislature passes large taxing and spending bills, there typically is a lot more to them than meets the eye.

Along with the primary high-ticket items, there are numerous "riders" - smaller pieces of legislation tacked on to the entire package that often affect only a small segment of the state.

Wright County is looking for one such rider as it continues its fight to recoup gravel tax money currently being collected by other counties.

Originally, Wright County refused to apply taxes to gravel being mined in Wright County, but recently has changed that stance - for a good reason.

"There are several other counties that collect gravel taxes, even if it is gravel coming into their counties," Commissioner Jack Russek said. "Because we don't have a gravel tax, when gravel taken from Wright County is brought into Sherburne or Hennepin counties, they collect a tax on it. We didn't feel that was right."

While the county board still contends that gravel mined and used in Wright County should not be taxed, the board is seeking to get a tax created for gravel exported out of the county. While the timing of the tax wasn't ideal, the county hopes to get action as soon as possible.

"It's too late to get anything in for this legislative session because there are no new bills allowed to be introduced, but we're going to talk to all of our representatives to get something in the next session to get this done," Russek said. "There are about 15 to 20 counties that already have this type of tax provision and we don't see why other counties should collect a tax on our gravel just because we don't have a tax in place."

Russek estimated that the tax would generate several thousands of dollars in revenue each year, but added that it would only apply to gravel being mined in Wright County and used outside the county's borders.

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