Average property tax increase in Minnesota hits 4.7 percent


Over at MPR, Dave Peters reports that Minnesota’s property tax bill will rise by an average of 4.7 percent, thanks to last summer’s deficit deal/boondoggle: “The hundreds of cities, schools and counties in Minnesota are proposing to raise the state’s total property tax bill by a combined $99 million next year. That will be up 1.2 percent to about $8.2 billion, the lowest increase in some years. But in past years a slice of that bill has been paid by the state, and that isn’t going to happen next year. (The state eliminated the homestead credit and its associated reimbursement scheme.) So in reality, homeowners, business people and other property owners will pay the full amount. That’s a 4.7 percent increase for them. Another way to look at it: Those taxpayers are paying a total of $379 million more than this year. That’s the biggest increase since 2009.”

At Politics in Minnesota, Jake Grovum covers the same numbers and says: “The Revenue Department’s data release comes at a time when an increasing amount of attention at the Capitol has been placed on property tax issues, whether it be because of a near-record level of school levy increases before voters earlier this month or because of some abnormal property tax levy increases of more than 10 percent in some areas. DFLers have largely sought to blame Republicans for both explanations — whether by blaming the GOP for stagnant K-12 funding or the elimination of the market-value homestead tax credit. The program, which used to provide property owners with a direct credit, was changed last session into a market value tax exclusion program. That allows property owners to deduct some of the value of their home in order to pay less in taxes. But the difference has left some local governments to raise taxes to make up the difference. DFLers have already pre-filed legislation for the 2012 session to repeal the change — although they have yet to say how they’d pay for it.” May I suggest a series of racinos?

Patents owned by a Tom Petters subsidiary are the value in a $600,000 sale of the company to a California tech crowd. Says John Welbes at the PiPress: “The remaining assets of Springworks LLC will go to a California nanotechnology firm, according to court filings in a federal civil case, which stemmed from the collapse of Petters’ business empire in 2008, when a $3.5 billlion Ponzi scheme was uncovered. Springworks was the venture capital arm of Petters Group Worldwide, which sought out start-up companies for early-stage investments. Doug Kelley, the court-appointed receiver in the Petters case, tried to sell Springworks’ patent portfolio in 2008 but couldn’t reach a deal. The sale efforts started again recently, and a buyer was found in Ernest Demaray, according to Tuesday court filings. The deal essentially allows Demaray to reacquire the patents for technology developed by Symmorphix, a company he co-founded in the late 1990s. Springworks had invested in Symmorphix, which was based in Sunnyvale, Calif. Symmorphix developed high-tech materials used in the manufacturing of wireless devices, and raised $44 million in three different rounds of fundraising starting in the late 1990s.”

Today in Bachmannia: On Tuesday, NBC talk show host Jimmy Fallon tweeted an apology for his house band playing “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as Our Gal strode on to his set Monday night. But she wants more. At FoxNews, the story says: “Bachmann addressed the controversy surrounding her appearance on ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’ this week, saying if what happened to her had happened to the First Lady, heads would have rolled. … while Bachmann said she accepts the comedian’s apology, she thinks NBC should apologize as well. ‘If that had been Michelle Obama, who’d come out on the stage, and if that song had been played for Michelle Obama, I have no doubt that NBC would have apologized to her and likely they would have fired the drummer, or at least suspended him,’ she told Fox News. ‘This is clearly a form of bias on the part of the Hollywood entertainment elite,’ she said, adding the incident smacked of sexism as well.” Never mind the business about using that song for Mrs. Obama … why does the drummer always take the heat for this stuff?

Also, in a startling departure from her usual meticulous veracity, Jon Avlon of CNN finds several, um, “errors” in Our Favorite Congresswoman’s assertions in last night’s foreign policy debate. “[O]ne candidate in particular kept playing fast and loose with the facts: Michele Bachmann. It’s part of her usual schtick: playing politics by talk radio rules, where impact is far more important than accuracy. Here’s one of my favorite Bachmann howlers from last night:

‘This is one thing we know about Barack Obama. He has essentially handed over our interrogation of terrorists to the ACLU. He’s outsourced it to them. Our CIA has no ability to have any form of interrogation for terrorists.’

Sounds scary — and what I love about this particular riff is that it hits so many paranoid-style themes all in one place. There is the image of President Obama as the naïve professor, an out-of-touch egghead compromising national security by bringing in card-carrying members of the ACLU to interrogate terrorists. Not only that, he’s ‘outsourced’ the effort, taking jobs away from our fighting men and women. Finally, there’s the bedrock proof point that makes the rhetoric sound real: Our CIA now has no ability to interrogate terrorists. Somewhere, Jack Bauer must be weeping. But what are the facts?  … the CIA is still interrogating terror suspects in the field in certain cases. For example, CNN reported in July that CIA operatives have secretly traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia, to help interrogate terrorism suspects about terror operations in East Africa and Yemen. … In other words, Bachmann’s claims aren’t true. They have more to do with fear-mongering than facts. And of course, her characterization of the Obama administration as pursuing a ‘doctrine of appeasement’ flies in the face of Osama bin Laden’s corpse and a massive escalation of drone strikes that have killed numerous high-level al Qaeda operatives based on actionable intelligence. … I couldn’t help but notice a Politico report that Bachmann received an overheated nod of support (but not an endorsement) from Glenn Beck on his radio show this week. The Pied Piper of the paranoid style said that of all the candidates in the 2012 GOP field, Bachmann ‘truly comes the closest to embodying the spirit of Lincoln or Washington.’ “

OK, so our paint thinner-swilling neighbors to the east are doing juuuusst a bit better than we are, sports-wise. But to watch ESPN, you’d think no one in Bristol, Conn., passed third-grade geography. Get a load of the graphic in this post at Max Thompson’s PostGame blog: “It’s been a great year for the state of Wisconsin. The Brewers went deep into the playoffs behind the MVP bat of Ryan Braun. The Packers haven’t lost since 2010. And yet the Badger State can’t get any respect. As the all-seeing CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell shows in one of his tweets, ESPN’s SportsCenter did a report on Braun and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in front of an artist’s rendering of … Minnesota.”

A couple of turkey items: Blair Euteneuer at Bloomberg notes that turkey rancher/farmer/raisers aren’t doing all that well off their birds: “Near-record prices for Thanksgiving turkeys may do little to boost profit for some U.S. producers after a surge in spending on feed grain. The average cost of corn, the primary feed ingredient, jumped 58 percent this year from 2010 and is headed for an all- time high, erasing the benefit of retail turkeys that the government says averaged $1.59 a pound this year, up 6.4 percent from last year. About 70 percent of the cost of raising each bird is feed, farmers say. Higher spending on grain is hurting profit for processors including Hormel Foods Corp. and led Butterball LLC to announce the closure of a Colorado plant, even as the American Farm Bureau estimated turkey served at Thanksgiving meals tomorrow will be 22 percent more expensive than in 2010.” On the upside, a lot of my corn-planting buddies in western Minnesota are driving shiny new trucks this fall.

And … the Pierce Country Herald reports that we are … the biggest turkey state in the country: “An estimated 46.5 million turkeys will have been raised in Minnesota by the end of the year. Arkansas and North Carolina are tied for second-place with 30-million apiece. Minnesota’s 2011 turkey production amounts to nearly 19-percent of the nationwide total.” It’s saying something when you can out-turkey either of the Carolinas.

As a barely so-so science student, I gotta say this stuff amazes me. In the journal, CleanTechnica.com, Andrew Burger writes about using Iron Range mines … to store wind-produced electricity: “The potential is there to re-purpose abandoned open pit iron ore mines in northeastern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range to store energy from wind turbines and farms, according to a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI). Doing so would not only enhance the competitiveness of wind power, it would make beneficial use of land that’s been severely degraded. Wind energy has been growing fast in Minnesota, thanks to its geography, climate and impetus from the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires that utilities and electric co-ops [get] at least 25% of their electricity from qualifying renewable sources by 2025. … Hydroelectric pumped storage systems were first used in Italy and Switzerland in the 1890s, Energy Journalism Fellow Dan Haugen writes in his report for Midwest Energy News. Some 104 gigawatts (GW) of electricity capacity was stored in hydroelectric pumped storage systems worldwide in 2008, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), with the US accounting for just over 22 GW, or around 21% of the total. The system’s basic design requires a permanent reservoir of water at a lower elevation and a temporary holding pond at a higher elevation. In the case of storing energy from wind turbines and farms, the water would be pumped from the reservoir to the holding pond during the night and then released during the day, passing through a water turbine or turbines on their way back down to the reservoir during the day as required by electricity demand.”

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Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/23/2011 - 03:27 pm.

    I wish Fallon hadn’t apologized. The article following the one where Fallon apologized provided evidence that the song was appropriate. Actually, I’d have appreciated if he conceded and said “I’m sorry that the song wasn’t titled “Lyin’ Ass PERSON.'”

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/23/2011 - 05:03 pm.

    Amen to Rachel’s comment, and one key difference between the use of that song to greet Mrs. Bachmann and the hypothetical potential use of the same song to greet Mrs. Obama is this: Mrs. Obama IS the FLOTUS. Mrs. Bachmann is…um…not.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/23/2011 - 06:49 pm.

    “For example, CNN reported in July that CIA operatives have secretly traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia, to help interrogate terrorism suspects about terror operations in East Africa and Yemen. … In other words, Bachmann’s claims aren’t true.”

    So you’re taking the word of a cable news organization over someone who sits on the House Foreign Intelligence committee.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/23/2011 - 06:52 pm.

    “I wish Fallon hadn’t apologized.”

    Of course you don’t. If Hollywood liberals showed any class it would be out of character.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/23/2011 - 09:43 pm.

    The fact that Mickey Bachmann believes she has earned the same respect that Michelle Obama has so clearly earned is testament to how far from reality is the alternate universe in which she dwells.

    If she were even able to realize how often she lies (a thought which her warped psyche will never allowed to enter her awareness),…

    If she were to apologize for those lies,…

    If she were to then spend the rest of her life seeking to undo the damage she’s done to others,…

    She might have grounds to complain about such a song being used as the accompaniment to a public appearance.

    Lacking that, I can’t imagine why she’s complaining about someone applying a figurative shoe to her life when that shoe is so clearly a comfortable (if colorful) fit.

  6. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/23/2011 - 11:01 pm.

    Property taxes skyrocket! To just a percentage point or so above inflation? The horror! Ours will be going down, but I can’t think of the opposite of skyrocket…

  7. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/24/2011 - 08:34 am.

    Mine are going up 9.2% (~3800 to ~4200). That’s $350 a month for the privilege of living in this town and is the equivalent of my utilities payments or the monthly payment on a brand new car. But I can tell you that I’m not getting $350/month worth of services from my city government.

  8. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/24/2011 - 10:58 am.

    It is odd, isn’t it, that some among us,…

    those who are incapable of imagining what it would be like to be someone else,…

    or to suffer from the difficulties or tragedies life randomly visits on others,…

    never imagine that we might need the government services for which we, pay,…

    together with our fellow citizens,…

    unless and until something happens and the services we were SO adamantly resistive of paying for no longer exist.

    (Of course those same sad, unimaginative folks, will be the first to call city hall and complain if a pot hole opens up in the street in front of their houses,…

    but they’ll STILL expect that someone else should be responsible for the cost of the repair.)

    Peace and tranquility are invisible to the unimaginative because they’ve never experienced the chaos that libertarian anarchy would unleash.

    Yet if they were to gain their heart’s desires and usher in that (untaxed) anarchy, they would, of course, blame others for what they, themselves have so stubbornly and stupidly wrought.

  9. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 11/25/2011 - 10:22 am.

    I’d guess that the CIA operates in a lot more countries than we can imagine.

    They are also — and extremely inappropriately, since they are not part of the Department of Defense — responsible for the death-by-drones program in Pakistan and other areas. We must obviously be in imminent danger from invading hordes of terrorists or we wouldn’t use such weapons, would we?

    General Petraeus must feel right at home.

  10. Submitted by Rachel Weisman on 11/25/2011 - 11:45 am.

    Dennis: “But I can tell you that I’m not getting $350/month worth of services from my city government.” He knows the price of everything, but not the value.

  11. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 11/25/2011 - 01:53 pm.

    The fact that property taxes rose due to actions at the state legislature is another illustration of denial by the (for now) majority party.

    One of the right wing commentator, Mitchell P. Berg, has made the claim that there is not a connection between legislative actions and increases, because nowhere in any of the legislation did it say that property taxes had to go up! No one HAD to increase property taxes!

    On the right wing blog, True North, Gary Gross, wrote that: LGA, Property Tax Hikes Aren’t Linked http://bit.ly/s2j5KZ

    Voters need to be reminded of these kinds of distortions – to put it mildly – during the next election.

  12. Submitted by Chris Reynolds on 11/26/2011 - 06:45 pm.

    How did a change from $3800 to $4200 annually become $350/month? If you are paying $3800/month in property taxes, forgive me if I don’t cry too much for you who are among those most able to enjoy the freedoms and benefits of this great nation.

  13. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/26/2011 - 07:30 pm.

    Mr. Gleason, property taxes are raised by the politicians who run the cities and counties. Mayors Norm Coleman and Randy Kelly managed to avoid raising property taxes. Yet as soon as Chris Coleman came into office, my property taxes increased every year, from $1800 to $4200.

    Mr. Reynolds, $4200 divided by 12 = $350.

  14. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/27/2011 - 10:38 am.

    /How did a change from $3800 to $4200 annually become $350/month?/

    We wouldn’t want basic math to get in the way of a good anecdote. ;^)

  15. Submitted by Chris Reynolds on 11/28/2011 - 11:31 am.

    Ah, thank you. I did misunderstand your estimation of the change as being a before and after comparison.

    Mr. Schulze, yes, that was my thought as well.

    Actually, Mr. Tester is right. The legislature that refused to spend its regular session doing its job (coming up with a passable budget) threw him under the bus in the special session. Sorry they were so busy with that “jobs, jobs, jobs” agenda.

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