Taxpayer Victory: Board Cuts Property Tax Levy
The county board unanimously voted yesterday to pass a 2011 budget containing a 1% general property tax levy decrease. This is the first time since the early 90’s that the county general levy has been cut (and only the second time in over 30 years).
We came into yesterday’s final 2010 meeting with a proposed budget holding the general levy flat. Commissioner Opat proposed the 1% decrease (which represents about a $6.8 million tax cut). I moved to amend his proposal to cut the levy by 1.7%, which is the amount we would need to cut this year in order to hold the “average” home in Hennepin County harmless from a county tax increase. My amendment failed on a 2 – 5 vote, with Mark Stenglein joining me.
The good news was tempered a bit by the fact that the board raised the other two county tax levies.
The county’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority levy (which was just created 2 years ago) was increased from $3.6 million to $5.6 million and the county’s Rail Authority levy was increased from $15 million to $18 million. So, in the end, we cut taxes by about $6.8 million and raised taxes by $5 million – overall a net win for the taxpayers of Hennepin County.
I proposed holding both the Housing and Rail Authority levies flat, but both amendments failed on a 1 – 6 vote.
I voted for the overall county budget yesterday (although not the rail or housing budgets) after the 1% amendment was added. It represented the second year in a row that Hennepin County has cut its budget and, while I still believe there is much work to do and much unnecessary spending left, we moved in the right direction yesterday. The county’s staff, administration and board members all deserve credit for that.