Group launches effort to repeal Legacy Amendment

A citizens group on Thursday launched a campaign to repeal Minnesota's Legacy Amendment.

The constitutional amendment approved by 56 percent of Minnesota voters in 2008 dedicates the proceeds of a three-eighths of a cent sales tax to the outdoors, clean water and the arts.

But the Minnesota Voters Alliance wants to put another measure on the ballot to repeal the amendment, saying a tax doesn't belong in the state's constitution.

"Those monies should be fought for by those parties every year at the Legislature," said Andy Cilek, the group's president. "By putting that in the constitution ... we're saying ... all that stuff in there is so important that it's more important than anything else. And quite frankly, we don't believe that it is."

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Two Republican House members are sponsoring a bill to repeal the Legacy Amendment. But Cilek said his group's campaign has support from both Republicans and Democrats.

The group has a website and is raising money for an advertising campaign.

"It should be a hard fought-out battle of ideas. Does it belong in the constitution or doesn't it?" Cilek said.

Although the amendment received broad support on the ballot, Cilek said people have since learned more about it and are more likely to question it. He also said a lot of people who supported it didn't realize what they were voting for.

"When people came around selling this to them, they never talked about a lot of the things in the amendment. They sold it as a clean water amendment," Cilek said. "We thought that was pretty misleading."

The sales tax is expected to generate about $450 million in the next two years. The Legislature during a special session will finalize what projects will receive the funds.

Minnesota Public Radio received $2.65 million in Legacy funds over the last two years.