This continues our comments on Rep. Jeremy Kalin’s (D-17B) March 20th column in the Post Review.
Kalin justifies voting for the T bill, saying, " . . . I know that the Transportation Funding bill will save us all money on our property taxes."
How many jurisdictions in Chisago County will actually be paying property taxes for a transportation project in their corporate boundaries that rightly belongs in the state highway system? If your city or township will not, then the T bill didn’t save you any property taxes.
Kalin claims "The best example of this [saving property taxes] is the new North Branch bridge." Would North Branch actually have borrowed $4.2 million to start rebuilding that bridge before 2012 when it is scheduled by Mn/DOT to be replaced? If they would, that would be their own choice to raise their own property taxes. But that is doubtful.
It seems Kalin uses this rather remote possibility to claim he saved North Branch residents from paying higher property taxes by voting for the T bill. So he attempts to win support for his T bill vote by setting up a highly unlikely scenario to make North Branch residents prefer the costly T bill instead of costly property taxes.
The figure of $4.2 million from the T bill doesn’t come close to building the $21 million bridge. What are the sources that will make up the difference? Kalin says, "The City has secured funding from Congress, from the County and from their own coffers." Why can’t he tell us when and how much will be provided from these sources? Is that too much to ask? And when will the bridge be built?
So will North Branch kick in property tax dollars after all to supplement the T bill? Will their share come from state apportioned gas tax revenue that cities with a population of 5,000 or more receive? Will Chisago County be kicking in property tax dollars for the NB bridge? If so, all of us in the county will pay some property tax toward the NB bridge and then Kalin’s statement is untrue. Why keep us in the dark while you pat yourself on the back for doing so much for us? I think you want us in the dark.
Kalin has the audacity to write, "The 2008 Transportation Funding bill saved taxpayers $4.2 million . . ." No, Rep. Kalin, the T bill actually will cost us $4.2 million plus the balance of $16.4 million to build the bridge. Remember, all this money is ours to begin with. You didn’t save us a dime. We will pay for it through the gas tax, property tax, federal income tax and a host of other taxes. All the money for the bridge will come from us through various forms of taxes.
It takes a whole lot of chutzpah to tell taxpayers that a politician saved us money when we will be the ones paying for the whole project.
By the way, your statement that ". . . the gas tax is dedicated by the Constitution to only roads and bridges . . ." is patently false. You also claim to be ". . . a fiscal conservative . . ." That too is patently false as demonstrated by your support of the T bill and this.