This week was spent primarily working in the district. On Wednesday I participated in a tour with the Crow Wing County, Brainerd and Crosby Housing & Rehabilitation Authorities (HRA). HRAs provide a variety of important community services focused on affordable housing and, in some cases, the HRA also may assist local cities in rehabilitating blighted properties.
Our stop in Crosby included the Dellwood-Edgewood Apartments and several individual HRA house units in Crosby. The Dellwood-Edgewood complex features private, carpeted one-bedroom apartments with a living room, dining area, kitchen furnished with a refrigerator and electric stove, and a bathroom with shower.
The Crosby HRA also includes eight single-family homes and six duplexes for a total of 20 units located at various sites within the area. A special thanks to the Crosby HRA board, which consists of Chair Mary Johnson, Vice Chair Linda Peeples, Secretary/Treasurer Renae Marsh, and Commissioners Buzz Neprud, and William Small.
Thursday evening, the Brainerd Legion Post 255 hosted a gathering of charitable gambling organizations from across central Minnesota to discuss issues that have arisen within local communities. Charitable gambling is conducted within our communities by local Lions Clubs, Volunteer Fire Departments, Sportsman’s Clubs, Elks Lodges, ATV/snowmobile clubs, and VFW/American Legion Posts to raise funds to donate to worthy causes in their local community.
Several years ago, charitable gambling regulations were adjusted in conjunction with funding the Viking’s stadium. Over time that has resulted in an increased tax burden for many smaller non-profit organizations.
A recent example is a local Lions Club. They were able to donate $77,504 to the local community – after they sent a whopping $95,421 to the state in taxes.
In another case, a group had to raise $108,000 to purchase and donate a new $80,000 ambulance unit – the other $28,000 had to go to the state for taxes. This is hurting our small non-profits ability to donate to our schools, food shelves, senior centers, hospitals and many other good causes.
I will continue to work on fixing this issue. Some amount of taxes is a necessary evil, but in this case we are hurting our local non-profits’ ability to donate directly back to our communities. We should be encouraging, not discouraging that.