Up to the minute Amber Alert Information

Friday, August 22, 2008

Property Tax Relief

In Rep. Jeremy Kalin’s (D-17B) recent letter to the editor at the Post Review (considered here), he wrote about one of his favorite subjects—property tax reform and relief. He wrote,

"I campaigned on property tax reform in 2006. Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed the 2007 Property Tax Relief Bill that would have meant an actual cut in property taxes for more than 90% of Chisago County."

That one sentence, without any details, sounds generous on Kalin’s part and stingy on the Governor’s. Probably few who read it now remember much, if anything, about that vetoed bill. Kalin is counting on that lack of recollection to sound magnanimous.

Notice he doesn’t provide any web links to the bill he voted for or the Governor’s veto so we can conveniently refresh our memories about the details.

It sounds grand that 90% of Chisago County property taxpayers would have an actual cut in property taxes. How would that happen? The money needed to reduce the property tax load must come from somewhere. If that 2007 bill would cut property taxes, that same 2007 bill also provided the money to pay for those cuts. It’s funny how that works!

So the 2007 Property Tax Relief Bill could also be known as the 2007 Offsetting Tax Increase Bill. But that title just doesn’t sound good because the state that giveth also taketh away. It is so much better to emphasize the giveth part and ignore the taketh part.

What Kalin refused to write is that the bill raised state income taxes by $452 million to pay for the property tax relief and that’s why the Governor vetoed it. Put this figure in perspective. In the 2008 LGA bill, local government aid is increased for 2009 by $42 million (with a pittance for cities in Chisago County). The 2007 bill would have increased income taxes by ten times that amount to pay for property tax relief in 2008, a very significant amount.

Kalin wants to be known as the Giver and not the Taker, but he can’t be the Giver without being the Taker. And he did not want you to know how much he was going to take from taxpayers’ left pockets to slip it into their right pockets and make everyone feel wonderful.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

No comments: