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

Tales of Property Tax Abuse.

“Tax his land, Tax his bed, Tax the table, At which he's fed.
 Tax his tractor, Tax his mule, Teach him taxes are the rule.
 Tax his work, Tax his pay, He works for peanuts anyway!
 Tax his cow, Tax his goat, Tax his pants, Tax his coat..

 Tax his ties, Tax his shirt, Tax his work, Tax his dirt.
 Tax his chaw, Tax his drink, Tax him if he tries to think.
 Tax his ciggies, Tax his beers, If he cries tax his tears.
 Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways to tax his ass.

 Tax all he has, then let him know, that you won't be done
until he has no dough.
 When he screams and hollers; Then tax him more,
Tax him till he's good and sore.

 Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave, Tax the sod in which he's laid…
 Put these words upon his tomb, 'Taxes drove me to my doom…'
 When he's gone, don't relax, Its time to apply the inheritance tax.”
From the Internet - Anonymous

I still own a tiny (less than 1000 square foot) 124 year old house in the 'hood in Hawthorne. It has no basement, no central heat, needs a new roof, and the lot is too small to be buildable. This is the house I tried to rehab for under $50,000 last year until I found that the city would force the costs to at least double that. The cost of tearing the house down is about $20,000 and unbuildable lots aren't selling even at asking prices of around $3000-$5000. So my house has a value of about -$15,000. But the city of Minneapolis still thinks it's worth around $44,000 even after I pointed out these facts, and that's the "value" they're basing my 2012 taxes on.

If that ain't enough of an argument that I and the 'hood are being overtaxed, two "comparable" houses within a block recently changed hands for around $13,000 and $17,000. Neither was a forced sale or auction, both were "arms length" transactions where the seller was under no compulsion to sell. Both these "comparables" are in better shape than my house and have basements. So at best my house is worth $15,000, and probably closer to $10,000. In reality I can't give it away (I've tried).

Now one would think our city would digest this information and drop the valuation of all three houses to around the $15,000 range. Fat chance- the comparables are still overvalued too. So why is Minneapolis doing this- the difference between a $15,000 and $45,000 valuation is only about $500 a year in tax revenue; That's chump change to the city.

But then I remember the council member who told me that the city wanted to let properties go "tax forfeit" so they could gain control over said properties. One is reminded of Rondo in St.Paul or the I-35W corridor in south Minneapolis, where the government used tax forfeiture and other manipulations to decimate minority neighborhoods. There's no way I can afford to pay almost $1000 a year in taxes to keep a home that's not even worth ten times that; unless the city relents I'll have to let the property go tax forfeit. I suspect over the years thousands of poor and working class folks in Minneapolis have faced the same dilemma and given up their homes in the face of unaffordable taxes based on inflated property valuations.

So is the City of Minneapolis using inflated property valuations to chase poor and working folks out to take over the 'hood, and do the dirty work of "site assembly" for favored developers and gentrification? wondering in Pipestone, where they wouldn't dream of such property confiscations... Dyna

In the twenty five years I have lived in the same house in Minneapolis my property taxes have risen 660%. The value of the property has risen 400%. My income has risen 80%. To me the math is simple taxes and this citys(and others) ability to spend rises faster than our incomes do. We are already paying much more than we should be. We simply cannot afford to offer the wonderful benefits and pretend this will go away. Blame who you want to, protect whats important but in the end spending on all gov't levels is completely out of control. read a paper, go online. It's no longer a little secret. In all of our homes we don't always get what we want and hopefully we get what we need. Make gov't smaller. Our state, county and local govt's got property tax revenue increases almost every year for the last twenty years. Did you get a raise every year for the last twenty years? Don't I wish. Anonymous, Minneapolis

I wrote to first ward council member with our story. Our mortgage going up. US BAnk won't reduce interest rate at common rate. At this point, either a short sale or foreclosure will come out of our Mpls home in NE.

PS. truly a sad day for homeowners in Minneapolis. Who will carry the burden when people move out due to various reasons!
Christopher, Minneapolis

Our homestead property tax is unconstitutional. Every one can afford our state income tax but not every one can afford our property tax. Our Minnesota State Constitution states the following: “Taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of subjects…” All Minnesota taxpayers are the same class of subjects. We are not a separate class of subjects for each type of tax. We pay all of our taxes from the same income while our homesteads do not contribute a dime to our incomes. Yet, the homestead is used as the basis for our property taxes.

There is no uniformity of taxes upon the same class of subjects when one level of our state government can consider the same class of subjects as poor while at the same time another level of our government considers the same class as wealthy.

That disparity and wrong doing is amply demonstrated in our state budget. The state budget includes billions of dollars in expenses for property tax relief each year to mitigate the problem rather than to solve the problem.

There is absolutely no reason why we can’t have a property tax that everyone can afford while at the same time generating equal, or better, revenue stream to our local governments and eliminating the costly property tax relief at the state level.

Our three candidates for governor are struggling how to reduce the state deficit. But not one of them has come forward that there are billions of dollars in deficit reduction if the property tax was reformed where everyone can afford them. Juris, Minneapolis

One of the saddest stories is about Darlene Pirtle reported in the Star Tribune August 22, 2005. Darlene was a retired recluse who, after many years of living in the same house, began to miss her property tax payments. The county issued warnings right away and began proceedings to take possession of her home starting with boarding up the property. Neighbors called the police becasue they began to worry when she was no longer seen with the doors and windows boarded up. No one did much and she was ignored. Eventually the county took possession and started to clean up the house for sale. At that time they found her remains in an upstairs bedroom. After removal the cunty took possession and sold the house getting full payment for all back taxes. As far as can been determined there was no investigation and the incident passed with little notice or concern outside of a handful of neighbors. Madeline , Minneapolis

We bought our first MN home in 1974. Our property taxes are now 40 times what they were 35 years ago! We retired six years ago and our property taxes have since doubled and represent 12% of my pension. We and many retirees will be forced out of our retirement homes without real property tax reform. This retiree will be voting for candidates that support real property tax reform in 2010! Mike, Ramsey County

I am disgusted by constant finger pointing between the city, county and state officials. None of them want to be responsible enough to take responsibility for higher property taxes.

If I ever lose my job, I am afraid I may lose my home. I have put so much into this home in past three and half years plus re-financed, the value keeps going down.

The money invested is going down the drain. If this trend continues, more people will be on the streets. With Rybak suggesting 11% increase for fiscal year 2010, he‘s forcing a good number of us into this bad situation.

He can‘t keep blaming Pawlenty since he\'s acted upon constant tax increases since his arrival. I am disgusted of all the lawsuits we the taxpayers are bailing the city out of.

The situation with Public Schools closing is a serious issue no one is addressing or Public Safety or Minneapolis NRP which brings neighbors together and plan out their ideas for a more enduring community.

One issue affects another in this case. I am saddened by the direction this mayor and city council have led us down. The city needs to focus on better paying jobs with high-tech companies who will provide better jobs.

Focus on attracting more people to establish small businesses without all the hassle either. With all the red tape, business moves out of the city and state. We need well-rounded politicians who will work for the people, not special interests!!!! Christopher, Northeast Minneapolis

We lived and worked in Minneapolis and St Paul our whole lives and now we are retired at a lake home in Wisconsin. The assessor made his periodic visit a couple of years ago and I mentioned to him that we are retired and live on a fixed income so we would appreciate some consideration. The assessor's response was (no kidding), "Fixed income? I'll fix your income!" This tells me the whole system is rigged against homeowners everywhere. Dorothy, Wisconsin

I have a neighbor lady who bought her house with her husband in April 1950. They raised two children there and he died in 1979. It is the only home she has known in her adult life. Now her house has a market value of over $400,000 dollars and property taxes of $6,100. This amounts to nearly 50% of her gross income. Any tax increases drives her further into poverty. We must put a stop to this! Mike, Minneapolis

Our house is assessed at 469,000 with property taxes almost $7,000. We are unable to sell it for even $399,000. So their way of assessing is out of line with reality. We can no longer afford to stay here and have a quality retirement. Or retirement at all. Anonymous, Minneapolis

I've owned my own home for almost 30 years. Me and my husband are approaching retirement and are making final plans. This is the house we love and want to spend the rest of our lives in but now we aren't able to afford the property taxes once retired, especially with expected increases over the next few years. This really stinks and I am deeply depressed. Is there anything we can do to stay in our home, the only one I‘ve ever really loved? Linda, Minneapolis

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Minnesotans for a Fair Property Tax