On a scale of (0)
most disagreement , to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is
your view on the following:
State aid to city governments should be eliminated and, in turn, city
governments should receive more authority to raise their own
To offset property tax increases resulting from withdrawal of state
aid, the Governor and Legislature should increase the income tested
property tax refund program.
Allow city governments to impose local non-property taxes themselves.
Health insurance for all state and local public employees in
Minnesota should be purchased in one plan, thereby replacing all
existing health plans for schools, colleges, cities, counties and
other state and local government entities.
Steve Hardie (no)
(no) (no) (yes)
(0) (1) (2) (7)
Allowing cities to raise local
revenue through non-property tax source simply increases disparities
between communities that LGA is intended to reduce. Redirecting
property tax relief to individuals may be politically attractive, but
it does not help cities with lower property tax bases provide levels
of service at as affordable a cost as those communities with a higher
property tax base can. While I have not closely read all the
summaries of conversations you have had with your guests I do find it
concerning that there seems to be something of a bias or at the very
least an ignorance of the value and practical effects of programs such
Bob White (8) (10)
This is especially important given the
faltering of federal health care reform.
Ray Cox (10) (10)
health care common purchase and common purchase of other items is a
big savings concept that should be implemented right away.
Jerry Fruin (8)
(5) (7) (7)
Hans Sandbo (9)
John James has some great ideas. How best to implement them and get
change. I think that with our current economic situation (local and
state) , internet , legislators must be informed and be informing
others on these proposals - make sure new candidates understand this
as well as incumbents. It is the ones with the ideas of what and how
to implement that get elected in a democracy, assuming we still have
Fred Senn (8) (8) (8)
Paul Hauge (0) (7)
John W. Hoscheid (10)
(10) (10) (10)
Mina Harrigan (5) (5)
forums to get input from leaders is important, but the "action"
piece is needed.
Robert J. Brown (10)
(8) (10) (8)
Question 1: Authority for raising
taxes and responsibility for spend them have to be better linked than
they are today. Local units are far less efficient when they have the
authority to spend with little responsibility for raising the revenue.
Question 3: Another option a couple
of us proposed 30 or 40 years ago would be to allow the school
districts to raise their local revenue with a piggyback tax on the
state income tax, assuming the income tax is the fairest and most
progressive of the options. This is much more feasible now with a
substantially smaller number of school districts and much more
sophisticated technology to implement the program.
Question 4: I would be comfortable
with the situation where the state purchased health insurance for all
state and local employees, but it might be better to have two or three
options from which those employees could choose.
Arvonne Fraser (0)
(2) (5) (8)
Interesting in that on the one hand
he wants more consolidation at the state level and on the other less.
Bill Kuisle (0)
(0) (0) (0)
purchasing pools does not always mean cheaper or better. Local units
of government having other taxing authorities will only create a mess
of taxes that will have to be cleaned up in the future.
Donald H. Anderson
(5) (5) (2) (0)
Our present governmental
structure doesn't lend itself to any appreciable changes without
changing our Constitution. We have to live within our existing
structure, namely federal, state, county, city and school districts.
We currently have to many have and have not governmental structures.
David Broden (7) (7)
Question 1: Changes in the approach
to LGA must be part of State Government Redesign. I however do not
support doing the elimination or signficant reduction in LGA without
consideration of the impact of these cuts on the uniformity of quality
of life, health, and safety of the people across Minnesota. We as a
unified state society have a responsibility to maintain certain
functions and standards for all the population. The thought of
dropping LGA will without consideration of public good is not in the
best interest of all of us. There are however many uses of LGA funds
that can and should be local discretionary decisions and thus locally
Again this needs to be addressed only in
the context of redesign of the role of government at various
levels town, townships,city, county, region, state etc. Doing a tax
change alone will cause more problems than it will fix.
Authority must be given to the local units
but this must be done without risk of building competitiveness that
threatens communitiies and does not yield improved or maintained
quality fo life.
This is one of those ideas that seems good
per the old idea "bigger is better". Could be better but it certainly
needs some detailed assessment before going ahead. Local options that
allow participation in a well structure pool may offer the same
David Dinnel (0)
(5) (5) (10)
A complete loss of local government
aid would be the final nail in the coffin of many small, outstate
communities/ Because of the difficulty for local residents and
business owners to cope with additional fees and taxes, communities
would be forced to drastically cut back on needed services, such as
public safety and maintenance of streets, alleys and sidewalks. And
consolidation is not the panacea many suggest. In some cases, the cost
of consolidated services has increased.
In regards to local government aid,
to some it may be the "Minnesota Debacle" but to many of us it's still
the "Minnesota Miracle." Recent reductions in LGA have impacted
negatively on communities. And county governments and local school
districts are also beginning to feel the pinch.
Rather than hearing from Twin Cities
pundits/experts who propose to have answers for outstate Minnesota, I
would enjoy attending meetings and hearing from those of us who are
close to the problems and how they are coping with it. I would remind
you that we are only part-time city council members and mayors. Some
of us are limited in the experience needed to deal with the budgetary
and other related problems being faced by many of us small community
David Dinnel, Mayor, City of
Thank you for the opportunity to
ruminate about change in local government aid ----I am a 4 term Cty.
Commish that sees a system that will eventually be unsustainable ----
The County I represent could be accused of being a welfare Cty.
because of the need and absolute reliance on State & Federal
assistance - if we continue on the current road the fine folks that
will follow me will have little flexibility other than continue to
raise property tax ---alterations have to occur - change is paramount
---I support your advocating for the "discussion".
Commissioner Mike Hanson - Kooch
Wayne Jennings (4)
(6) (7) (8)
I like the fresh ideas
but don’t have the knowledge to fully evaluate them without hearing
other experts’ comments on each. Thanks for having these conversations
for us to stir our thinking.
In the area of
redesign, I’ve been thinking about education and believe we can
accomplish more with the same or fewer dollars. It would take major
change, probably best approached with pilot program incentives. This
applies to both K-12 and higher education. Dr. Tom Abeles would be
good on higher education and the use of technology.
Dennis L. Johnson
(7) (0) (8) (10)
Only if State
income taxes are reduced to offset local increases!
A good discussion but with too much
emphasis on the revenue side and too little on reducing expenses.
Since one could spend years redesigning a better statewide tax system
and then see it not passed by the legislature anyhow, I think it would
be a better idea to simply push for an amendment to the state
constitution capping all taxes at an agreed level, preferably lower
than at present. Then make sure the constitution continues to require
a balanced budget each year.
This approach is being considered by
several States, especially Indiana, where it is popular. Under the
KISS approach (Keep It Simple, Stupid) this means one fight rather
than a years long battle grinding away at details of balancing state
and local tax loads, etc. I think this would be a common sense
approach which could prove quite popular and even pass. This would
simplify the annual budget battle and force the necessary decisions to
be made at all levels to meet constitutional requirements.
(0) (0) (0) (0)
This is just a blatant attempt to rip
off the taxpayers by shifting the traditional method of municipal
funding and allowing the State to avoid real budget decisions. This
will require enormous property tax increases. Why don't we just
abolish municipal government and permanently mobilize the National
Guard to provide emergency services.
Bob Fenwick (8)
(8) (8) (2)
A property tax with a
circuit breaker is not so regressive and the best budgeting tool.
Question 4: If it is
anything like what the Teacher’s groups have been proposing for the
past few years, do not go there. This is a far more complex issue than
this simple statement would indicate and is not guaranteed to lower
costs. They may in fact go up.
(6) (8) (8) (9)
don't know about this. Mr. James's proposals for change are
far-reaching and I can't get myself around all of them. I do favor
much of what he recommends. Uncertain of this one.
Bert Press (10) (5)
Charles Lutz (5) (5)
Glen Skovholt (1) (_)
(4) (8) (4) (3)
Question 1: Should consider when
the disparity in property tax wealth is built into the system. Maybe
should consider permitting cities to raise revenues only from
residents who can vote so that there is a line of political
accountability for revenue raising decisions.
Question 3: Same concerns as with
sure this would do much. It would create a massive bargaining
organization with insurance companies. but not sure the cost savings
would be much less beyond a certain point. Maybe should try it by
regions of the state for school districts to see what difference it
would make. How would this compare with the cost of health insurance
federal employees receive? Such a step would remove a cost for every
unit of government except the one that purchases the insurance. How
much would this reduce the cost of services for local unit s of
government? What assurance is there that they would not take the
savings and increase their revenues by maintaining the same levies on
the property tax?
Bert Lemunyon (5) (5)
Peter Hennessey (7)
(0) (10) (0)
Another policy wonk, tinkering at the
edges. How about keeping things simple and fair, so people will worry
about business, not an ever more complicated tax code?
Question 1. This is really two
questions in one. State government must fund all mandates it imposes
on local governments, especially those which they would not undertake
themselves but the State forces on them. On the other hand, local
governments must be free to raise their own revenues for their own
purposes. State "aid" to local governments is just a slight-of-hand.
All money comes from my pocket as a taxpayer. The fact that one level
of government takes more from my pocket and another one takes less,
and may or may not hand the excess to a third one, makes no difference
Question 2. What property tax
increases? Who says local government (1) should rely exclusively on
this form of extortion (pay up or we take your home), (2) will raise
taxes rather than find ways to cut costs, (3) can't find or would not
be allowed to find other sources of revenue?
Question 3. Local governments should
be free to determine their own needs and decide how to pay for them.
In another message I have explained how sales taxes are the most fair
of all forms of taxation.
Question 4. Absolutely not. Reduced
costs come from competition, not from a monopoly. The entities
identified in the question vary greatly in terms of demographics, for
example, and therefore their needs and usages of health care services
are different. At the very least they need policies tailored to their
own needs. One size does not fit all, and costs everybody more.
Try the free market for a change.
Government does not have to have all the answers for everybody, even
if they could come up with the right answers, which they have a track
record of not having ever done, anywhere anytime in history. The
government that governs best governs least (per Jefferson, Paine and
Thoreau). Let businesses worry about what to offer and let customers
figure out what they want to buy. Do not impose uniformity, do allow
diversity and competition among businesses and among localities, so
customers will have choices, and if nothing else helps, could vote
with their feet. But if there is no competition, no choice, then
everyone is trapped and everything stagnates.
Ton Kuefler (10)
(0) (10) (10)
David Detert (0)
(4) (3) (8)
The case for continuing local
government aid was made by Mr. James in his comparison of property tax
in Edina and Brown’s Valley. I am a family physician and even though
we have a hospital in our community 80% of all of the money spent on
health care goes to the metropolitan area because that is where all
the expensive health care is located. The same is true for retail and
other factors in the economy. The economy is set up to funnel wealth
into the urban area and unless we have some way of returning some of
the wealth to outstate Minnesota in the form of local government aid
we have no future.
Health care is the key
to controlling state expenditures in the future. To control the
government obligation is to have a single payer system for all
Minnesotans not just government employees and the government
obligation should be only for basic health care and not the high tech
expensive care. The election in Massachusetts makes that unlikely as
people are unlikely to accept limits on health care. Is there any
What I believe is absent from the
'equation' of obtaining more funds for the public coffers are the
possibilities of seeking grants from well-heeled foundations. And
then, of course, if one wants to put one's political future on the
line, one might try to 'make a deal' with gambling 'institutions'
throughout the state like our dear Gov. Charlie Crist (who. at
present, also happens to be running for the U.S Senate) is trying to
do....Just a thought. And by the way, love the new format -- very
Kevin Edberg (3)
(7 (7) (5)
Roger Wacek (10)
(5) (6) (0)
insurance (sickness insurance) should not be purchased for any
employee. Cost control will never be happen when the patient is out of
the payment loop. Ask former state Senator Dick Day about this!
Alan Miller (5) (2)
All good suggestions,
but I am unwilling to support any without further consideration and
understanding the interconnections. And I did read "Finding a Way
Forward" and "MN Fiscal Situation." I do support urging governor and
legislature to take these suggestions very seriously.
State Rep. Bev Scalze
(10) (10) (10) (10)
Chris Stedman (5)
(3) (7) (10)
Rich Collins (0)
(5) (5) (10)
Scott Halstead (5)
(5) (5) (10)
Public employees should receive
discounts for being healthy. Individuals that smoke, abuse
alcohol/drugs, are overweight, and blood pressure is not managed would
pay higher costs. The State of Minnesota should have several
providers but the service levels should be identical
Corky Ebeling (0)
(5) (10) (5)
Rick Bishop (10)
(10) (8) (8)
as you go/user fees also for those that can afford.
Dennis Fink (8) (5)
(8) ( 5)
It would be unfortunate if Civic
Caucus sees local government as only cities as indicated in questions
1 & 3. Eliminating state aid to local governments would be well
received if the state
suggested the services that were to be provided and gave the
communities the option to provide them (allowing us to eliminate
costly Mandates). To offset the loss of state aid, the state could
eliminate its quest for property taxes as a source of its revenue but
that would require that the state live within means provided by
income, sales and the other taxes not reserved for local governments.
I agree with James that we need to be thinking about redesign not the
shifting of resource distribution.
Dan Schultz (0)
(5) (7) (10)
Ken Smart (X) (_) (_)
clear that to truly get a handle on govt spending, one must look at
restraining compensation increases for govt employees to better match
changes in private sector. The single largest expenditure line for
government is employee compensation (salaries, wages, and benefits).
Tom Swain (8) (5) (8)
James offered much
Ray Schmitz (10)
(10) (10) (10)
Question 3: They are already doing
so via fees for services, street lighting, sewer, water, storm water
Question 4: But why stop there,
allow small businesses and individuals to buy into this common plan,
thereby reducing costs for them also. Or, and this could be a better
step, the state can self insure, hiring a management firm, if
necessary to administer the plan. Olmsted County, among others has
done this for years, the benefit is that health insurance is just
claims + management + profit, self insurance cuts out the profit. The
management firms compete for the business since it is basically risk
free from them which also reduces costs.
I am a seasonal property owner
(lakeshore) and a member of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota
Seasonal Property Owners Coalition (MSRPO). As non-homesteaded
property, I am already being taxed approximately 1/3 more on an equal
valued property than are my “homesteaded neighbors who receive
significantly more local services than I. Is this fair taxation? I
suggest that we pay 1/3 less in taxes-that would be fair. I (we)
have real no voice in local election process where people are elected
who make decisions that significantly affect seasonal property
owners. Also, there seems to be a prevailing attitude among local
politicians and legislators think we cabin owners are all “rich city
folks” who can well afford the runaway valuation and taxes. The
valuation of my homesteaded property in Cottage Grove (2000 sf)
declined 1.9% for 2010 while my modest cabin property (768 sf on 100
ft shoreline) in Aitkin county rose 18%. My cabin, where I receive
virtually no local services, is now valued only $300 less than
my wonderful house in Cottage Grove with exceptional city services.
Now you suggest giving local
governments more tools to stick it to us even more and still without
allowing us to vote on these issues. I have no problem supporting
local governments where I am homesteaded but not in two locations as
you propose. I don’t think it’s fair taxation that I have to support
a portion of schools in my “seasonal” county. There is nothing wrong
with state aid if it is funded and given to local governments. Aitkin
County has far less of a tax base to support costs of their government
than do “richer” counties. What we really need is perhaps ½ the
number of counties we have now. As you should agree, there is far too
much duplication of services within our 87 counties. We should be
pursuing the elimination of the homestead exemption and tax a house or
cabin as a house or cabin regardless of whether or not the owner lives
there all the time – check South Dakota.
Taxation without representation
(those word ring don’t they) is happening now for seasonal owners – we
don’t need to increase that burden.
I agree with consolidation of health
care purchase for state and local government employee.
Dick Angevine (5)
(6) (6) (8)
(5) (8) (8) (10)
Question 1: Not clear whether this
would be fair, some communities have more capacity than others.
Question 2: Need to know more about
how this would work
Question 3: Does this disadvantage
the poorer communities? Not clear from presentation.