Overflow crowd braves 103 degree temps for property tax forum

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About 50 South Minneapolis residents listened intently, some ruffling folded flyers to fan their faces in a room with no air conditioner and outdoor temperatures peaking at 103 degrees on June 7. The topic that held their attention: property taxes.

“Income is not matching expenses that we are facing,” said David Wheeler, who works for the City of Minneapolis as Vice President of the Board of Estimate and Taxation. Joining Wheeler were other public officials who met with residents at Pearl Park for a town hall meeting to discuss the 2011 Omnibus Tax Bill (vetoed by Governor Dayton) and its effect on property taxes in Minneapolis.

State Representative Jim Davnie explained how “for every dollar cut in LGA, the Department of Revenue has found that property taxes go up as much as 52 cents, while services are cut even further.”

Officials spoke about how the tax bill would have meant a $40 million cut to Minneapolis LGA with a potential of reaching $80 million because of being introduced in the middle of the budget year.

Senator Patricia Torres Ray said, “The tax bill raises taxes on renters by $186 million over the biennium by eliminating renter’s credit for 72,000 households, with remaining eligible households receiving cuts ranging from $190 to $335 per low-income household.”

Along with the temperature, the room was heated with residents sharing their concerns and wanting to know how to fight back to stop rising property taxes.

Bonnie Everts, a real estate agent said, “In Minneapolis, excessive property taxes is deterring people from moving here.” Agreeing with Everts, Catherine Dorr told the crowd, “That’s why last April I sold my house in Minneapolis. Now I am moving to Roseville because of a $1,200 savings in property taxes.

State Representative Jean Wagenius told the residents that one way to fight back is to let Governor Dayton know what you want. Then a petition to protect property tax payers in Minnesota was passed around as people signed the form. One resident asked for copies of the form so she could gather more signatures.

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