The Myths of Property Tax Reform
By Phil Krinkie
Every year state legislators wish they could do something to stop the continuing escalation of property taxes. And why would the 2013 Legislature be any different than past years when it comes to property taxes? Every election cycle state legislators want to tell their constituents that they are going to do something to reduce residential property taxes. This year after the legislative session ended in May with more than $2 billion in tax increases, the Governor and DFL leaders proclaimed they had passed legislation that would reduce property taxes. Their claim is based on an increase in state aid payment to local government, combined with property tax credits of almost $400 million. But don’t count on your property taxes decreasing and certainly don’t spend the money until after you have taken a look at your 2014 property tax statement.
Who’s Sorry Now?
By Phil Krinkie
May 22, 2013
Now that the 2013 legislative session has concluded there may be a lot of Minnesota voters who are sorry now. Sorry about how they voted or maybe sorry that they didn’t vote. Just like the words of that 1958 hit record sung by Connie Francis, “Who’s Sorry Now?” about their decision last November.
Many voters who went to the polls last November didn’t truly know the individual for whom they voted. Perhaps they voted by party label, or maybe they voted based on a key issue or it could have been a campaign ad. But as the saying goes; ‘elections have consequences’.
Upon review of this year’s legislative actions, these words certainly ring true. Most Minnesotans had no concept of what would happen to their liberties, their livelihood or their wallets once this group of legislators gathered in St. Paul last January. By the time the Democrat controlled Legislature adjourned in May, they had raised taxes by over $2 billion and increased state general fund spending by $3 billion, or more than 8%.
For over thirty years Minnesota legislators and local officials have stumbled and bumbled their way through a half dozen taxpayer funded stadium deals. Now as the 2013 legislative session draws to a close they are about to commit yet one more in a long list of stadium building blunders. This time it’s not the billion dollar football palace for the New Jersey developer Zgyi Wilf, but rather just a small $50 million dollar ballpark in St. Paul. This latest stadium blunder started last year when the state legislature set up an economic development slush fund which allowed Gov. Dayton to pick the winners. In this multi-million dollar give away Gov. Dayton picked his political ally Mayor Chris Coleman to receive $25 million in state taxpayer funds to construct a new ballpark for the St. Paul Saints in downtown St. Paul.
The day after Dayton announced the $25 million award to St. Paul for the ballpark, Mayor Chris Coleman awarded a no bid design build contract for the project. The Mayor’s hasty and illegal actions brought a lawsuit to require a competitive bidding process.
Gov. Dayton then met with his friend Mayor Coleman and suggested that St. Paul should allow an open bidding process. The city then preceded to set-up a sham of a competitive bid process and three months later awarded the contract to the same construction company it previously selected.
Head ‘em up, Round ‘em up, Move ‘em out
Four months ago when the legislative session began no one knew what to expect. It would be the first time in more than 20 years that the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate as well as the Governor’s office.
Now with just three weeks before the scheduled adjournment of the 2013 legislative session the intent of the DFL lawmakers actions are clear. They are doing everything imaginable in their power to drive entrepreneurs and job creators out of Minnesota.
Just like a bunch of young cowboys driving a herd of cattle, the message these cowboys are sending to Minnesota’s small business community is “head ‘em up, round ‘em up and move ‘em out!”
By Phil Krinkie
Over the last few months Gov. Dayton and now Attorney General Lori Swanson have made it clear that if you are a small business owner, a larger corporation or even a major philanthropist, you are not welcome in Minnesota. The not welcome here parade started in January when Gov. Mark Dayton released his “tax reform” plan. The Governor’s tax reform plan proposed to add sales to all business to business transactions. His plan drew instant objection from businesses large and small across the state. Because no other state in the country imposes an across the board sales tax on business to business services many companies started to consider the possibility of relocating to another state.
But it wasn’t just Dayton’s business to business tax that got people thinking about relocation. Governor Dayton has also proposed increasing taxes on people who reside outside of the state for more than six months. His so called “snowbird” tax would levy tax penalties on individuals who often want to escape our Minnesota winters and our high tax climate for more weather and tax friendly locations.