Minnesotans for a Fair Property Tax

Minnesotans for a Fair Property Tax - Great Seal of Minnesota Minnesotans for a Fair Property Tax - Great Seal of Minnesota Minnesotans for a Fair Property Tax

Political Cadidates


November, 2009

Quotes from the Candidates On Taxes

    Minneapolis Mayor:
  • R. T. Rybak - WINNER (DFL) Incumbent (no position on taxes found so far)
  • William McGaughey - (New Dignity Party) “City residents cannot sustain double-digit increases in the rate of property taxes. I suspect the solution lies at the state level. State taxpayers (income-tax payers) need to assume a greater share of the cost of local education.”
  • Chris Clark - (Libertarian) “I am running for mayor due to the constant raising of taxes in the city, state and county. I cannot afford my house any longer if the value keeps going down and taxes & fees go up. The city officials aren't taking the whole foreclosure situation very seriously either. More of us will end up in this situation. One issue such as being jobless affects foreclosure affects the quality of life etc... Without homeowners and businesses being taxed to death, the city wouldn't be able to do much else. The city of Minneapolis should allow more high-tech businesses into our fine city with a new tax system. Cut out all the red tape issues. Really look at the city's performance long term. I prefer a flat tax system if we must for basic services. We pay percentage of what we earn. Everyone pays their fair share. I mean everyone! This method may have to pass with MN legislators which I would work with closely. ”
  • Papa John Kolstad - (Independent Civic Leader) “ Property tax increases are severely affecting people on low and fixed incomes and even up into the middle class. Property Taxes have been particularly cruel and harmful to small and medium sized businesses. This is the sector the provides and creates jobs. However, these ever increasing Property Taxes are robbing these businesses of precious capital that they need to grow and even maintain their business.”
  • John Charles Wilson - (Edgertonite National Party) “ First of all, I believe the property tax should be divided into two seperate parts: 1) A tax on the land itself, and 2) a tax on the buildings on the land. The land tax would be based on acreage, with several rates per acre depending on whether the land is commercial, acrigultural, or residential, and on the density of use in the immediate area. The building tax would be a flat 0.5% of the value of the building per year. Second, I believe that property tax shouldn't be the main source of local government funding. Municipalities should own profitable businesses such as electric utilities, newspapers, grocery stores, etc. and use the profits to fund municipal services.”
  • Tom Fiske - (Socialist Workers Party) “Eliminate taxes on working people. Eliminate all taxes except a steeply graduated progressive income tax on the wealthy. Eliminate all interest payments on city bonds. City, state and federal governments today crush working people with their expenses, because the big majority of their funds are simply used to stabilize the capitalist economic system, with massive expenditures for imperialist wars, interest on the national debt, two million in the jails, and expansion of the police forces. Inexpensive government is possible only as a result of working people taking political power and participating directly in the making decisions for human need, not profit for the multi-millionaires.”

  • Minneapolis City Council:
  • Betsy Hodges - WINNER (DFL) Incumbent “What I can tell you is that first, Minneapolis has its fiscal house in order. ” and “Now more than ever it is important that we maintain a budget process governed by policy and principle, a process that ensures every dollar of our hard-earned property taxes are used wisely.”
  • Kris Broberg - (Independent) “The central issue of my campaign is property taxes. Everyone has been hit hard by the recent increases. I have looked at the budget and it will be even worse in the years to come. Evidently, the increase of 72% over the last seven years isn’t enough revenue for the current city office holders. Their latest budget, through 2018, calls for at least doubling your current property taxes in the next 9 years and this is without including the city’s enormous pension fund liability in the budget.” Quoting a section of Hodges website, he said, “ ‘Minneapolis has its fiscal house in order.’ I couldn’t disagree more. According to the city’s own budget, they will at a minimum double our property taxes by 2018. According to my opponent, it could double that rate of increase if you factor in the city’s pension liabilities.”
  • Melissa Hill - (Civil Disobedience Candidate) “ We are in the middle of a foreclosure crisis and economic recession (if not depression) and the city is mismanaging funds - yet expects that the residents should pay increased taxes to support their incompetence? No, I would not support a property tax increase at all. After we do a complete audit of all city funds, we then can figure out what to do with the money we have. We may need to adjust the funding downward on particular departments that have been misbehaving (aka Minneapolis Police Department) and reases how we use funding for some regulatory services (e.g. do we need to waste money worrying about what everyone's lawn looks like?).”
  • Raymond W. Rolfe - (Libertarian Party) “ I'd like to say I support a STRONG property rights perspective. Along with that, I'd like to see property taxes go as low as humanly possible. This can be done by cutting city government spending in so many areas. People already pay enough in utilities to cover basic services. If we would do things like ending fluoride treatment of the water supply, we might save some money to lower property tax. I think, if we really needed to tax something, how about adopting the Leslie Davis water plan which would tax major corporations 2 cents per gallon of Minneapolis ground water they currently loot for free. So thats 2 billion less that already struggling homeowners have to pay in property taxes. I'd like to see a day when the property tax can be completely abolished, because innovative and creative citizens have made the city sustainable without massive spending.”
  • Laura Jean - (Progressive) “I do not favor increasing property taxes. It is a regressive tax I believe we should work to keep it as low as possible. That said it is the city's only reliable source of income so we have to make some though choices about the level of service we are use to from our city government and creative budget solutions if we want to stop increasing this tax. In the short term I would like to see greater efforts put into offering a lower tax to seniors and other low income families to ensure they are not forced out of their homes due to property taxes.”
  • Lisa Goodman - WINNER (DFL) “I do not favor the 8% tax policy. Property taxes are regressive and local government can't rely on increasing that source to fund basic services.” See her position on taxes.
  • Gary Schiff - WINNER (DFL) “Property taxes are now the number one issue that I hear from constituents. We can't afford to replace lost state aide dollar-for-dollar with property tax increases. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, this year I've requested the finance department to report back to the Council on a 4% property tax policy for the next five years, rather than a continuation of an 8% policy.”.
  • Meg Tuthill - WINNER (DFL) “After seven consecutive 8% increases in the city’s property tax levy, Minneapolis residents cannot afford steep tax increases. I will work to ensure city tax dollars are spent wisely – on basic services residents depend on. The city and its citizens cannot afford to spend on frills or pet projects during a time of tight finances.”
  • Kim Vlaisavljevich - (Independent) “The primary focus of my campaign is budget and tax reform. … financial management, process improvement, and responsible decision making will naturally result in less property tax, higher service levels, better schools, business development, and more green space.”
  • Matthew Dowgwillo - (DFL) “We cannot maintain the culture of Uptown when long-term residents are being priced out of their homes due to increasing property taxes. We need a good balance of businesses and home owners in the area. The only way to do this, while continuing to meet pension obligations and city services obligations is to ensure that all projects run more efficiently. Road construction is done quickly to prevent neighboring businesses from needlessly suffering, investments yeild a high ROI (like education and energy efficiency improvements), and we work with like-minded, non-city groups to work toward common goals, create jobs, and provide services while lowering property taxes.”
  • Sandy Colvin Roy - WINNER (DFL) Incumbent Sandy Colvin Roy says property taxes are her number-one concern. She says she repeatedly hears from residents about their fear that continuing tax increases “will force them out of this city.”
  • Brent Perry - (Socialist Action) “I have campaigned for a set of tax reforms with the overarching theme of making taxation more progressive. I support reducing property taxes on most people in Minneapolis, while at the same time increasing taxes on the wealthy. This could be done by increasing the homestead credit (while also making it available to rental property), or alternatively by creating a tax table with higher rates for second homes and luxury homes. I support reducing commercial and industrial property tax rates to the same rates paid on residential property, because businesses pass on the cost of property taxes to consumers. I also support eliminating sales taxes, and replacing them with a city income tax. I think we need to push for more local government aid from the State and Federal governments. ”
  • Charley Underwood - (DFL) “People are getting taxed out of their homes and businesses, and various "fees" like mandatory new fire inspection fees and mandatory health inspection fees are likewise harming us all. Rather than raise taxes, the city should sell the Target Center, the Convention Center, the new Pohlad Memorial Baseball Stadium and other city-owned properties that benefit few beyond billionaires and downtown strip-club owners. ”
  • Betsy Hodges And Paul Ostrow …“There are many in Minneapolis struggling to stay in their homes who can ill afford to pay additional property taxes.” Minneapolis vs. pensions: An accounting; Minneapolis StarTribune' October 20, 2009
  • Jeffrey Alan Wagner - (Independent) “My feelings are that there need‘s to be a break from the abuse of the spending of the council. Please, We spent over 5 millon dollars to put grass on the top of the Target Center… .That‘s money that should have been used to not increase the home owners tax‘s… Plus we can save over a millon dollor‘s by bringing the council down to 7 member‘s. There is no need for 13 member‘s… .I will be the most hated council memeber by the other council member‘s… But somebody need‘s to rock the council. Jeff
  • Allen Aigbogun - (Independent) “When elected, I will be a strong voice in protecting tax payers and small businesses from astronomical tax increases. Each year Minneapolis continues to decline in population due to the rising tax burden, leaving an even greater tax burden for those that stay.”
  • Troy Parker - (DFL) “Participate in a city government that carefully considers all of our residents before making decisions or spending taxpayer dollars.”
  • Dave Bicking - (Green) “Wise and careful use of our tax dollars is essential. We need to keep Minneapolis affordable for everyone.”
  • Matthew Dowgwillo - (DFL) “Fiscal Responsibility for Minneapolis & Lowering taxes for homeowners and families”
  • Larry Ranallo - (Independent DFL) “Prepared to help the Council make the decisions not to over tax & special fee our seniors and homeowners.” And “City taxes can not continue to rise. We need to make smart investment choices to keep taxes low and ensure families keep as much of their income as possible. It is time to stop the new fees like the water run off, and the street light fees. Someone needs to step up and make these sideway taxes stop.”
  • Grant Cermak - (Independent) “I will hold the line or rollback taxes. I will seek to reduce spending by the government.”
  • Mike Tupper - (Independent) “It is time to take back the power of the city council and encourage small business and property ownership instead of discouraging it through higher property taxes, and assessments.”
  • Michael Katch - (Independent) “One further note on the stability of our neighborhoods; when seniors go onto social security they should be able to opt out of having to pay property taxes. Rather, they should be able to simply allow the state to lien the property so they may continue to live in their homes no matter how the real estate gains in value over the remainder of their lives.”
  • Rick L. Nyhlen - (Independent) Says property taxes need to be kept low. “6.6 percent per year is too much …” he says. “State cuts to Minneapolis, while not good for the city, are nowhere near 6.6 percent per year.”

  • Minneapolis Park Board:
  • Bob Fine - “I did not vote for the increase with the Board of Estimate. The Park Board has been held back on property tax increases for nearly the last decade. The increase you refer to the city's tax policy, not that of the Park Board.”
  • Dave Wahlstedt - “Basically, I want to help the Park Board to set an example for how to tighten their belt, get creative about revenue generation and hold the line on property taxes - in a difficult economy like we are seeing now, and in the future as well. ”
  • Meg Forney - See Meg's response to our question on Property Taxes.
  • Mary Merrill Anderson - “I am concerned about property taxes too. I am a home owner in Minneapolis and share in the burden of high property taxes. You maybe aware that the Park Board has not participated in these large increases in Property taxes. In fact over the last 6 or 7 years that Park Board has averaged just under 4% increase in their budget. I believe that there are many financial issues facing the city of Minneapolis over the next several years, but I believe that it is our responsibility as elected officials to not overtax our constituents and force them to reconsider whether they can continue to own their homes in the resolution of those issues. The issues of services and programs vs revenue is a complicated and difficult issue, and one that I think city residents should have a chance to weigh in on. We need to prioritize our city services, look for real efficiencies and discover new ways to generate acceptable revenue as we look to the future of a properous, healthy and productive City which includes a high quality Park & Recreation System, which is why most people who have a choice live here.”
  • Nancy Bernard - “I believe the government needs to live within their means, just as our everyday citizens are doing. We cannot continue to expect our law abiding tax payiing citizens to foot the bill for every airment that is in society. If you can not pay for it, do not get it!.”
  • Tom Nordyke - “I am very concerned about the property tax increases we have had over the past decade. I am the only Park Board Commissioner who has voted against the maximum levy increases set by the Board of Estimate and Taxation for all four years I have served. We need to continue our search for other forms of revenue and stop increasing the burden on the local tax payer.”

  • Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation:
  • DeWayne Townsend - “My take on property taxes are; property taxes are too high, rate of increase too high, they are too regressive and this situation is unsustainable; Minneapolis needs to live on a leaner budget, city hall needs to get out of development, concentrate on lowering the cost of police & fire and work with unions to get the pension mess under control. Pretty much the same as most other folks in Minneapolis.”
  • Phil Willkie - “I am aganist propert tax increases and I'd favor post postponning them for people facing foreclosure, and seniors on limited income. Most people can not afford more increses. We have to find other ways of raising revenue. For one I favor legalizing marijana and taxing its sale.”
  • Michael Martens - “If elected to the Board of Estimate & Taxation, (BET) I will vote against all levy increases greater than the rate of inflation, or what seniors and others on fixed incomes can afford. The best of my knowledge I am the only candidate running for BET that has made a specific commitment to limit property tax increases. The Mayor and current City Council consider 8% annual property tax increases to be having the City's fiscal house in order. That means if a resident retires at 65 with a $3,500. property tax bill, on their 75th birthday they will be paying $7,000. On their 85th birthday they will get a property tax bill for $14,000. I don't know any one on a fixed income that can afford increases like that. ” For more on property taxes see Michael's web site See the State Auditors report.

Links to Candidate Web Sites and Articles:
Minnesotans for a Fair Property Tax