It’s gotta be tough to be the Strib Editorial Board.
On the one hand, you are joined to the DFL at the hip. You run what is in effect the DFL house organ.
On the other hand, you’re not only trying to run a business – you’re running a business in a dying industry and a garbage economy. Alida Messinger has you on speed-dial. You worked overtime – well, you had your people work overtime – to see Mark Dayton and a couple of DFL legislative majorities elected.
St. Paul and Minneapolis mayoral property tax bids for 2014 came in Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and with them the strongest indication to date of how much change in Minnesota’s property tax climate was wrought by the 2013 Legislature.
The change is in the right direction, but it’s more modest relief than the Editorial Board had hoped for, particularly in St. Paul.
As I’ve predicted for the past year, and correctly noted yesterday, the hikes to “Local Government Aid” will not lead to any meaningful property tax cuts anywhere in the state, least of all in the Twin Cities and Duluth. True enough; Minneapolis is instituting what’ll be a fairly cosmetic cut for most people. Saint Paul is, ostensibly, holding its taxes steady – which is not a cut at all:
Mayor Chris Coleman — who is seeking a third term this year — recommended that city levies be held flat next year. He called it a “no-drama” budget. But for St. Paul homeowners hoping for a partial reversal of the big increases in recent years, it was a disappointment. The City Council should aim lower as it sets next year’s levy.
While each city’s budget will benefit from a state infusion next year, the Twin Cities are not twins in city government size, scope and fiscal condition. St. Paul is in many ways the needier twin, more dependent on state aid, which was slashed in 2003 and has only this year begun to recover, and on homeowner taxes, which rose steeply in response.
This year’s $10.1 million LGA increase does not quite fill the $11.5 million gap projected for next year’s St. Paul budget before more state aid arrived.
Just as promised, Saint Paul isn’t putting one red cent toward reducing property taxes. Its budget remains a grab bag of goodies for Chris Coleman’s and the City Council’s key stakeholders, the unions and the non-profits.
Anyone who expected otherwise was deluded. Anyone who told you it’d be otherwise is either naive or lying.
So what is the Strib editorial board, then?
Comments welcome at Shot In The Dark.