Uh-oh. I know someone at a certain St. Paul daily who is firing up his keyboard at the sound of this … The Strib’s Jennifer Brooks reports: “Minnesota property tax rates could increase again next year, in spite of the $2.1 billion tax bill that was supposed to give homeowners a break. The Minnesota Department of Revenue released preliminary property tax levy rates Tuesday that showed the state’s cities, counties, townships, schools and special taxing districts planning across-the-board tax increases. The actual rates will not be released until February. In July, Revenue had predicted that state property taxes would decline by $121 million in 2014 — the first drop in a decade — as communities took millions of dollars in local aid from the tax bill and passed at least some of it along to homeowners.”
In the PiPress, Bill Salisbury says: “Preliminary levies for next year total $7.7 billion or $153 million more than this year’s property tax bills. Here are the preliminary approximate total 2014 levies released by the state Revenue Department:
• Cities — $1.967 billion, a 2.1 percent increase.
• Counties — $2.745 billion, a 1.5 percent increase.
• Townships — $234 million, a 2.1 percent increase.
• Schools — $2.377 billion, a 2.6 percent increase.
• Special taxing districts — $328 million, a 2.3 percent increase.”
The AP’s Brian Bakst adds: “[I]f the pattern holds, it could present political difficulty for Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the Democratic-led Legislature. They made reversing years of property tax hikes a key goal and said their budget would accomplish that. In July, Democratic leaders touted a projection showing a $121 million drop in property tax bills. The analysis doesn’t take into account the direct-to-homeowner relief measures. … Republicans have maintained that extra state spending won’t be successful in suppressing property taxes. State Sen. Julianne Ortman, the lead Republican on the tax committee, said it’s proof that increasing local aid doesn’t bring down property taxes. ‘That’s not what’s happening here. I’m not surprised,’ she said.” Of course local aid doesn’t bring down property taxes. Everyone knows only anti-abortion and Voter ID bills bring them down.
Related … . Baird Helgeson of the Strib writes: “Minnesota’s tax collections in October beat expectations by more than $56 million. The Minnesota Department of Revenue took in $1.6 billion for the month, about 3.6 percent higher than estimated. Income tax collections came in at $718 million, about $30.3 million more than budget officials estimated. Sales tax collections were $455 million, beating targets by 4.4 million.”
Making money the old-fashioned way … Tim Pugmire at MPR reports: “Gov. Mark Dayton’s total income last year was $343,234, according to the 2012 tax return that he released today. … The governor’s total income included salary, dividends, and capital gains. Dayton’s personal wealth stems from his family’s department stores. He paid $64,157 in federal income taxes on $299,604 of federal taxable income. He paid $24,990 in state taxes. Dayton’s itemized deductions included $1,000 for gifts to charity.”
More from the Strib’s Brandon Stahl on the state’s problems with (very) poorly vetted nurses: “Leslie Anderson had no reason to distrust the nurse she let into her home to care for her 4-year-old daughter, who requires around-the-clock medical attention for a rare disease that has left her a quadriplegic and unable to talk. Five months later, Anderson caught the nurse, Kelli Ingalls, stealing her daughter’s pain medication. Anderson did not know until contacted by the Star Tribune that Ingalls had a drug history that included methamphetamine abuse and a county finding that Ingalls maltreated a child by allegedly operating a meth lab in her home.”
Also in the Strib, Mark Brunswick says: “Homelessness among veterans in Minnesota has decreased since 2009, suggesting that increased efforts to reach homeless veterans may be paying off, according to a new report by Wilder Research. In 2012, 580 homeless veterans were counted on the night of the survey, down from 669 in the previous survey in 2009. The Wilder survey, which is regarded as the definitive count of homelessness in the state, counted 542 male veterans, a 10 percent decline from the 605 counted in 2009. The decline among female veterans was even more dramatic. The survey counted 38 female veterans, compared to 64 three years earlier, a drop of 41 percent.”
The key phrase is “criminal responsibility.” An MPR story says: “An attorney who represents victims of child sex abuse named four officials in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who he thinks bear criminal responsibility for failing to report abuse of children by priests. Mike Finnegan, an attorney with Jeff Anderson and Associates, said the law in Minnesota and across the country requires church officials to notify authorities of even the suspicion of child sex abuse. … ‘I think they are definitely criminally responsible: Archbishop [John] Nienstedt, [former] Vicar General Peter Laird, [former] Vicar General Kevin McDonough, former Archbishop Harry Flynn: all four of those men, I think, face criminal responsibility for their failure to report child sex abuse.’ “
Gov. Scott Walker’s autobiography is coming out, and The Huffington Post got an advance copy. Amanda Terkel writes about the famous prank call Walker took from a guy pretending to be billionaire David Koch: “The call, from Ian Murphy, editor of the Buffalo Beast, an alternative publication in Buffalo, N.Y., occurred on Feb. 22, 2011. Murphy, posing as Koch, asked Walker if he would be ‘planting some troublemakers’ in the peaceful crowds that were protesting his anti-union legislation in Madison. … Walker also writes that he regrets coming off as ‘pompous and full of myself’ on the call, during which he bragged about his television appearances and the ‘phenomenal’ national response he had been getting. He adds that after the press conference, he heard God’s message for him:
Only later did I realize that God had a plan for me with that episode.
In my office is a devotional book on leadership by John Maxwell that I read for its daily message. The day we learned the call had been a prank, we had been so busy that I never had a chance to pick it up. After my press conference, when I had a moment to catch my breath, I opened up the book.
The title for that day was: ‘The power of humility, the burden of pride.’
I looked up and said, ‘I hear you, Lord.’ ”
How do you say, “Eeeewwww,” in Wisconsin?