Mark Sommerhauser’s article is additional proof that the DFL was full of BS when they said that taxing “the rich” would provide property tax relief to the middle class:

St. Cloud school district has imposed its largest tax levy increase in six years for 2015. The district’s property-tax levy will increase by $3.3 million, or 14.75 percent, to nearly $26 million. The school board voted unanimously Thursday night to approve the 2015 levy.

District officials say the increase is needed to pay for a spate of improvements to facilities.

I’ll give it to the DFL in the sense that they come up with appealing chanting points. I just wish they put a priority on telling the truth. Unfortunately, they don’t. The DFL’s highest priority is to say whatever they need to say to win elections, then spin their asses off when they brake their campaign promises.

The DFL knew that they couldn’t stop property tax increases. The DFL knew it because property taxes are set at the local level. The DFL just used that excuse to raise taxes elsewhere.

This shows, too, that the DFL’s boasting about making “historic investments in education” were campaign spin, too. I’m not disputing that K-12 spending increased. That’s indisputable fact. What I’m saying is that the money didn’t get spent on things that improved educational outcomes. Most of the increased spending was Education Minnesota’s wish list. It won’t do a thing to close the achievement gap. In fact, the DFL’s “investments” will short rural school districts.

What’s worst is that the taxpayers who get punished by these property tax increases don’t have a say in the matter. The school board can write itself additional funding whenever it wants. That’s just wrong.

Board chair Jerry Von Korff said he doesn’t expect a taxpayer backlash in response to the increase. One taxpayer attended Thursday’s board meeting to protest the tax hike. “We always do everything we can to keep taxes to a minimum,” Von Korff said. “We’ve got a ton more students and we’re adding on to buildings. The vast majority of this increase is to pay for those buildings.”

Von Korff emphasized at Thursday night’s meeting that the increase isn’t covering operating expenses. Instead, it will be used almost entirely for the building projects, he said.

This legislature must repeal the law that gives school board virtually unlimited spending and taxing authority because it’s stripped that authority from the taxpayers. The taxpayers must have the authority to stop out-of-control career politicians from taxing the taxpayers into submission.

Taxpayers literally had a say in these decisions for decades. Now they don’t. That must change ASAP.

Next, it’s disgusting that Von Korff thinks that the school board can do whatever they want. It’s exceptionally disgusting that the school board doesn’t think that their first responsibility is to serve the people. With that arrogant statement, Van Korff told St. Cloud that he isn’t a public servant. Van Korff declared that members of the school board aren’t public servants.

Finally, it’s time that a) school board elections happen on election night in even numbered years and b) we make school board elections partisan elections. The DFL’s stranglehold on school boards isn’t a secret. It’s time to make these elections partisan.

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6 Responses to “DFL property tax relief, St. Cloud edition”

  • Rex Newman says:

    The LoFo’s in the DFL and their media do not understand how local budgeting works. First, they calculate the maximum level of pain increase they think we’ll accept without significant reaction. Second, they take that increase plus all the other funding sources including LGA to estimate the total revenue next year. Third, they write a budget to spend every nickel of it.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Rex, that’s exactly right.

  • walter hanson says:

    Gary:

    If I read your article right it sounds like the school district is planning some capital improvements. This leads to a couple of thoughts.

    One, are a bunch of school districts about to do capital improvements because they they the state will give them extra for the operating budget to use the capital improvements?

    Two, under the guise of property taxes being stable are school districts about to start asking for increases to get dream building projects thinking the voters won’t be in the mood to disapprove them.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Chad Q says:

    This is what happens when you give the inmates the keys to the asylum. Could there be anything worse than giving school districts free reign over how much money they can steal from taxpayer’s without any consequences?

  • Gary Gross says:

    Walter, major capital investments still need to go to the voters. Think building new school buildings, which might happen in St. Cloud in the next year.

    There doesn’t appear to be much concern on these school boards about their image.

    Chad, it’s vitally important that every conservative call their legislators. It’s imperative that we tell them that repealing the school board’s authority to raise taxes without a vote isn’t negotiable.

    That’s especially true if conservatives live in a swing district & is represented by a Democrat. It isn’t that a Democrat will vote to repeal the law. It’s that we’ll beat them over the head with it in 2016.

    It’s that simple.

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