STATE OF MINNESOTA 21st MEETING
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES EIGHTY-FIFTH SESSION
PROPERTY TAX RELIEF AND LOCAL SALES TAX DIVISION
Representative Marquart, Chair of the Division, Called the meeting to order at 1:17 PM on Thursday, February 7th, 2008 at the Whitney Senior Center in St. Cloud, MN.
Committee Legislative Assistant Paul Cumings noted the roll.
Members of the Division Present:
MARQUART, Paul (Chair)
Members of the Division Excused:
BROWN, Robin (Vice-Chair)
Members of the Legislature Present (who do not serve on the Division):
Representative Marquart gave an introduction to the hearing and the Property Tax Relief Divisions goals in having the hearings across Minnesota.
Representative Haws welcomed the Property Tax and Local Sales Tax Committee to the finest Senior Center in Minnesota by program and facility. He testified to the growing burden of property taxes on St. Cloud residents.
Representative Hosch welcomed the Property Tax and Local Sales Tax Committee to Central Minnesota. He testified to the growing burden of property taxes on residents of Central Minnesota.
Representative Dittrich thanked the citizens of St. Cloud for their hospitality and was interested in the testimony of the citizens of the region about property taxes.
Representative Paul Marquart, Chair of the Division, gave an overview of Property Taxes in Minnesota and spoke about the impact of rising property taxes.
Dewayne Mareck, Chair of the Stearns County Board of Commissioners, testified on the impacts of state mandates as well as the impacts of rising property taxes. Ken Paulson, Mayor of the City of Becker, testified about the assessing of forests. Dave Kleis, Mayor of the City of St. Cloud, testified the importance of local government aid for his city and cities in Central Minnesota. H. Dan Ness, Mayor of the City of Alexandria, testified that the legislature should pass HF 346 concerning the regional center LGA provision that would give extra LGA to regional centers. Andy Virden testified that rents are increasing in Waite Park because of higher costs of social services. He went onto say that LGA not only effects peoples property taxes, it effects the costs of services. Dan Vanhale testified about fiscal accountability as it relates to local, state and federal officials. Hazel Youngmann testified that legislators should have planned ahead by raising the gas tax by 1 or 2 cents every year rather than discussing large gas tax increases every decade. Bill Kemp testified that the low-income housing designation (4d) should be retained. Bob Salisbury testified about the transparency of property taxes as well as the impact of rapidly increasing property taxes. Jerry Hovanes, member of the Sauk Rapids VFW post, testified about the rising costs of property taxes on non-profit locations such as VFW and Legion posts. Barbara Welty with Association of Minnesota Townships testified about the growing costs to townships. Greg Vandal, Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools Superintendent, concerned about the inequity in the absence of many barriers for cities and counties in raising taxes while school have more barriers to raising taxes. Jerry Lenz, Minnesota Forestry Association, testified in support changes in property tax policy on forests. Luke Johnson, Pipestone County Board of Commissioners Chair, testified on the impacts of state mandates as well as the impacts of rising property taxes. Cheryl Foster, testified that excess land should be treated fairly whether a small part of it is homesteaded or not. Steve Cook, Mayor of Hutchinson, testified on the impacts of declining state aids as well as the impacts of rising property taxes. Pat Lynch, City Councilmember for the City of Sartell, testified about his concerns about regional city aid and how the regional center aid formula is determined. Clark Gustafson, Director of Meeker County Social Services, testified on the impacts of state mandates as well as the impacts of rising property taxes. He testified his concern for child protection services. Scott Mareck testified about the transportation burden falling on local units of government when the state does not adequately fund transportation needs. Ms. Botzek, Deputy Administrator for Sherburne County, testified on the impacts of state mandates and declining state aid.
Brian Musech testified that businesses need to have a way to pay their property taxes more on a system of ability to pay. Implement a business property tax refund system.
Representative Dittrch gave closing remarks on behalf of the committee.
Representative Gottwalt responded to many of the citizens gathered and gave closing remarks.
Representative Marquart, Chair of the Division, adjourned the meeting at 3:15 PM.
Representative Paul Marquart, Chair
Paul Cumings, Committee Legislative Assistant