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Cass County Board: Sales tax collection question raised by county

BACKUS—Cass County commissioners voted Tuesday to ask the Association of Minnesota Counties to support state legislation to allow more of the state sales taxes collected on Indian reservations to be paid to the county government where they are located.

State law now requires Indian reservations which have casinos to pay sales taxes collected on the reservation to the state. The state retains 45 percent, pays the reservation 50 percent and pays the county where the reservation is located 5 percent.

The state's original concept for this was that it would serve as partial compensation to counties for some of the revenue they lose because tribal owned or trust land is not taxable, according to Administrator Robert Yochum.

There are no federal payments in lieu of taxes for Indian trust land.

Cass County received $117,558 per year under this law in 2015.

The proposed legislative change calls for 25 percent to be paid each to the county and to the state, with the tribal share remaining at 50 percent. If that occurred, Cass's annual share could increase to about $646,569.

AMC currently does not have a position on this issue, Yochum said.

The county commissioners voted to support AMC positions calling for a 50-50 split between the state and counties for probation services funding. They also supported AMC's call for eliminating the minimum 30,000 population requirement in order to choose to participate in a community corrections program.

Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk obtained board support to testify today before a legislative committee in St. Paul to support state funding for new election equipment.