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Some sales taxes in Duluth expire; dinner at Grandma’s is 7 cents cheaper

The half-cent sales taxes on food, beverages, and lodging have expired.

Two local sales taxes in Duluth expired in November, making it slightly cheaper to eat, drink and stay in hotels there.

The Duluth News Tribune says the taxes were 0.5 percent tax on food and beverage sales and a separate 0.5 percent tax on lodging. Last year, they brought in about $970,000 and $283,000, respectively, according to Peg Spehar, Duluth’s chief financial officer.

Is it a windfall for visitors?

A $14 tab at Grandma’s is now 7 cents cheaper; a $100 hotel room is 50 cents less.

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The taxes had been used to pay off bonds for the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center and the Great Lakes Aquarium. But greater-than-expected tourism meant the sales tax money flowed in faster than expected, so the taxes expired.

Some tourism officials considered asking the Legislature to extend the sales taxes, but, says the paper:

David Montgomery, Duluth’s chief financial officer, said the timing didn’t seem right. He said the Legislature will be focused on the state’s larger budgetary needs.

Besides, the lower tax rate will look good to convention planners thinking about coming to Duluth, said Todd Torvinen, chief financial officer for ZMC hotels.