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Despite increased revenue, tax hike is proposed

To the Editor:
The political spin is under way to explain that the 5 percent proposed McLeod County levy increase for 2017 is reasonable. To put this into perspective, we first need to go back three years.
On July 30, 2013, Gov. Mark Dayton proudly proclaimed that $121 million was to be redistributed to local governments from his $2.1 billion tax increase the year before. “For the first time,” said Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans, “we are projecting that property taxes will go down by $121 million in calendar year 2014.”
 Gov. Dayton also stated that property taxes are “the most unfair tax” because “people have to pay property taxes whether or not they have a job or their incomes go up or down, whether or not their business or farm’s making a profit.”
Minnesota Sen. David Han pushed back on this premise that increased state funding would lower local taxes. He predicted that the extra aid dollars to local government would simply be spent — not returned to taxpayers, as intended. Han has been proven spot on.
On top of Gov. Dayton’s promised increase in funding, even more revenue was coming into McLeod County:
• Chairman Paul Wright voted for the wheelage tax in 2013 that started raising $350,000 per year.
• Since 2013, McLeod County has not had to pay sales taxes on its purchases. In 2014, this was $167,000 and continues every year.
• CPA (county program aid) funding increased to over $300,000 in 2015.
On top of these additional revenues, Chairman Wright still voted to increase the levy:
• 5 percent in 2016.
• 2.73 percent in 2015.
• 2 percent in 2014 (this was voted down to 0 percent later).
Paul Wright has proven the last four years that he can spend every dollar of increased revenue and still increase levy taxes. Can we afford another term under Paul Wright?
Jim Bobier
Acoma Township