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Lawmaker: city, county should pay more for Mayo's Rochester improvements

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The chair of the House tax committee says Rochester and Olmsted County should pay for some of the local improvements the Mayo Clinic says it needs if it is to expand in the area.

Rep. Ann Lenczewski, a Bloomington DFLer, says a local sales tax or taxes on lodging, entertainment, or transit in the area should all be considered before asking the state to cover $500 million worth of improvements to roads and other facilities.

MPR reports Lenczewski said of the local governments "You've got to put a lot more in the game here before you can look to the state."

The Rochester lawmaker sponsoring the legislation told MPR such a tax would come as a surprise to local citizens.

The Mayo Clinic, which is Minnesota's largest private employer, has a plan to spend more than $3 billion over the next 20 years expanding its Rochester campus. But Mayo says the plan is contingent on the $500 million in upgrades it wants from the state.

According to the Associated Press, House Speaker Paul Thissen says asking the host communities to shoulder more of the financial load is "a fair discussion to have."

The Pioneer Press says Lenczewski expressed a commitment to funding the Rochester improvements, but not necessarily to the tune of $500 million. The paper quotes Lenczewski as saying she'll have a new funding proposal ready for another committee hearing next week.

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