David Hann is one of the smartest legislators in St. Paul. He routinely gets re-elected in what would otherwise be a swing district. As such, when he says something, it’s worth the time to listen. Pay attention to Sen. Hann’s challenge to the Dayton administration in this video:

Here’s the line that caught my attention:

Now you testified the other day that in you, in your analysis, using some sort of dynamic figuring, can figure out that when we do certain things at the state level, then local jurisdictions are going to decide on their own to raise taxes. Although, on your chart here, it shows that property taxes have gone up every year since 1995 and I don’t think Republican budgets have been passed every year since 1995.

It’s painfully obvious to thoughtful people that the DFL’s claims linking LGA with property tax increases are nonsense. In fact, Mitch’s post does a fantastic job of exposing LGA myths:

The top 14 cities in terms of Local Government Aid – Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth, Saint Cloud, Winona, Hibbing, Austin, Moorhead, Mankato, Rochester, Faribault, Albert Lea, New Ulm and Virginia – do indeed soak up over half of the state’s entire LGA budget.

More interestingly, the top thirty cities in population – from Minneapolis (population 390131) down through Brooklyn Center (30330) get a grand total of about 172 million dollars from LGA.

But twenty of the top thirty cities – Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Plymouth, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Burnsville, Maple Grove, Woodbury, Blaine, Lakeville, Minnetonka, Apple Valley, Edina, Saint Louis Park, Maplewood, Roseville, Cottage Grove, Shakopee, Inver Grove Heights and Andover, receive absolutely no local government aid.

In other words, the DFL can’t prove their LGA-property tax allegations if their lives depended on it. The DFL will blame everyone except their irresponsible mayors for higher property taxes.

If mayors and city councils don’t hesitate in spending money beyond their city’s means, then their citizens should pay for their recklessness. The rest of the state shouldn’t subsidize these cities’ irresponsible spending habits.

It’s never wise to reward foolish behavior. Too often, that’s what LGA is.

Sen. Hann is exactly right in calling the DFL for their playing fast and loose with the truth. The Twin Cities’ media didn’t investigate whether the DFL’s allegations had merit. That’s why that responsibility was left to Sen. Hann.

Thankfully, Sen. Hann was totally capable of explaining that LGA isn’t tied to rising property taxes.

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3 Responses to “Hann Challenges Dayton Administration”

  • eric z says:

    Those top numbers – are they in terms of dollars per capita, or dollars total, that list being a list of the larger Minnesota municipalities? Do you know? It seems a fundamental thing to pin down before pontificating.

    When you say “Mitch’s post” I presume it’s Berg, and hence not worth the time of looking at it.

    Not something to say here. We disagree often, Gary, agree sometimes, but it is helpful to my understandings of a range of things to see your posts.

  • eric z says:

    I have a problem with, “In other words, the DFL can’t prove their LGA-property tax allegations if their lives depended on it.”

    That’s a fundamentally flawed argument.

    You say they cannot prove the future.

    Okay, wise guy. Prove them WRONG.

    To say nobody has an unimpeachable crystal ball is true but uninformative. To say it with a one-sided slant in proposing an argument is illogical.

    That unimpeachable crystal balls do not exist is not any basis to go on to, “The DFL will blame everyone except their irresponsible mayors for higher property taxes.”

    I blame a mayor for not increasing the tax rate, but for wasting reserves in multi-million dollar chunks; one sunk already in purchasing land to compete with private sector land development in the metro area. Another proposed to bankroll a dubious building venture on the land venture site.

    That would be competing with private sector banking, where prudent decision makers will not plunge into any such second position and the first position caps its exposure, prudently.

    With that specific context in mind, Gary, how would you in general define, “Socialism?”

    Specifically – In Ramsey where I live the mayor and a trioka of GOP council members making up a majority spent down reserves in ways I believe showed a profligate disregard for fiscal good sense.

    Covering their tracks by chest-beating over not raising the tax rate, they nonetheless were spending in ways I believe a true conservative would fault.

    Republicans. Yes, they did not raise the general tax rate, but there is an EDA, an HRA, each doing taxing, and I do not see any conservative will in town to curb that kind of thing – to trim back on back-door ways to waste cash.

    I credit the city officials, so far, for keeping to a precedent. Past councils wisely have told James Norman, when city administrator NO on a port authority (there being no port in Ramsey being of no consequence to his aims). That guy caucused DFL, I admit that, and he is the one convicted of six felony municipal credit card abuse counts in his latest former job, as city manager of Albert Lea.

    Decision making in Ramsey has been bipartisan stupid.

    Ramsey had a long-time mayor who was often reelected but disliked strongly by some. I am blogging the “Do you miss me yet,” thing about him and the current GOP “brain-trust.”

    Handing that back to your people is in a sense personally rewarding.

    BOTTOM LINE: There is a gang of four, all Republicans, on the seven person Ramsey council that is contemplating putting the city into as much as an eight million dollar hole to take a second mortgage position on a building deal of dubious merit, brought in by a consultant who’s been burning through city money like Sherman through Georgia (Sherman had a purpose, however). Again, these are Republicans.

    The consultancy that is getting all the city loot handed it has Mike Jungbauer on staff titled as some kind of water expert. Curiously, Jungbauer had begun sponsoring special pork for Ramsey, roughly from about the time that firm got its first consultancy deals, a bit after the consultancy started. Other SD 48 municipalities have not so benefited from the Senator’s my-pork-is-good-pork largess with State monies.

    With things like that, is it your contention the GOP in things is as pure as Ceasar’s wife? That all problems on the planet are tracable to one party, and not to the dilemma of the two party system with lots of spoils to be had? Think it over.

  • Gary Gross says:

    First, saying that Mitch Berg’s research into LGA isn’t “worth the time of looking at it” is exceptionally close-minded. Unlike many inhabitants of the lefty think tanks, Mitch isn’t afraid to go wherever the information leads.

    Next, the top dollars are dollars total.

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