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Letter: Adding truth to the Truth-in-Taxation statements

By now, most citizens of Minnesota have received their Truth-In-Taxation statements. If they are like the majority of property owners, they were most likely floored by the increases.

This past year, one of the main topics of discussion involved a tax policy change that would eliminate the market value homestead credit and replace it with a homestead market value exclusion that legislators and the governor thought would save the state money. They were wrong. Instead, most people have seen lower valuations and higher taxes on their property tax statements. It is unfair for anyone to assume that local governments could simply absorb these massive cuts or to imply that local governments were to blame for irresponsible budgeting.

The loss of Local Government Aid (LGA) to the city of Worthington was more than a half a million dollars this past year alone. It has been a trend over the last several years by the state to lower Local Government Aid (LGA) to cities in Greater Minnesota. This trend cannot continue, because the city of Worthington and cities with lower tax capacities have services that must be provided to our citizens.

Perhaps, instead of raising property taxes, our governor and state legislators should have looked at ways to raise revenue in a fair and equitable manner instead of establishing a program that forces average citizens and local governments to take the lion's share of pain to fix the state's financial woes.

When Truth-in-Taxation hearings are held, please voice your concerns and do not hesitate to contact your state-elected officials, including the governor, to let them know the direct impact to you -- the taxpayer -- because of cuts to state property tax relief programs.