Editor Letter Property Tax Reform
Sample Letter to the Editor
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I am writing in response to legislation currently being considered to contain Aquatic Invasive Species. Zebra mussel and Asian carp are in the news, and have elevated the issue. We must use this opportunity to create a comprehensive statewide plan to address Asian Carp, zebra mussels, spiny water flea, round goby and even viruses like VHS as well as species and threats not even know yet.
The discoveries of zebra mussels in more Minnesota lakes, and silver, or "flying" carp in Winona recently illustrate painfully the need for more action.
- The recent "wrist slap" of a man who knowingly put a zebra mussel contaminated boat lift into Rose lake is a clear indication that penalties are too low to be effective
- The DNR should not push the expense and liability of AIS work down to local units of government, creating increased property tax levies and incomplete AIS containment
- We must increase AIS user fees, BUT also need to look at other sources of funding like the Legacy Amendment. People voted to "protect, enhance and restore our lakes" and AIS work meets that requirement
- Minnesota must convene a Blue Ribbon panel of experts from around the country who have demonstrated success to help Minnesota develop and implement a comprehensive, statewide plan. Half measures have failed, and money has been wasted without producing results with the recent infestation of Lake Winnibigosh and crashing walleye populations in Mille Lacs the latest examples.
The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, must lead the nation in solutions to stopping Aquatic Invasive Species.
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TAXES LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Even with a projected one-time surplus of $600 million, Minnesota's fiscal picture is grim, and property tax bills across the region were shocking in this down real estate market. When times were good, property taxes went up. Now that times are bad, property taxes are going up further. A recent report by the State Auditor showed that in inflation adjusted dollars, local government spending has declined over the last decade. At the same time property taxes have increased 100%
Without meainingful State and Local Fiscal System reform, revenue shortfalls will continue to translate into increased property taxes. Property taxes are a regressive tax. There is little connection between ability to pay the tax and the value of their property.
It is wrong for the state to continue to push tough choices down to the local level. Minnesota's Governor and Legislature should balance Minnesota's budget, not hundreds of mayor and city managers scattered across the state.
But in order to balance the budget, politicians will need to drop platitudes and other gimmicky one liners. They will need to solve persistent State and Local Fiscal system problems.
This budget surplus is an opportunity to overhaul Minnesota's State and Local Fiscal System. The state needs to solve its budget woes with true leadership, not further property tax increases.
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