My least two “favorite” days of the year are “Property Taxes Payable – 1st Half” and “Property Taxes Payable – 2nd Half”.

And yesterday was one of those two least favorite days of the year. I don’t escrow, so twice a year I see – and feel the pain – of property taxes in the great state of Minnesota. As a result of the Property Tax Reform Bill enacted in 2001, and signed by then-Gov. Jesse Ventura, in 2002 I paid $1,845. This year, after 8 years of Gov. T-Bag, I paid $3,374 in property taxes.

The goals of that 2001 Reform were:

Realign the state-local fiscal relationship:

• • Increase state’s role in funding state priorities (education, courts, transit)

• • Decrease state’s role in financing municipal services to give residents more direct responsibility for municipal service decisions

The bottom line, is Gov T-Bag accomplished the latter, while ignoring the former. MN2020.org has a report by Jeff Van Wychen. From it:

Since 2002, Minnesota property taxes, in general, and homeowner property taxes, in particular, have increased rapidly. The cause of the statewide growth in property taxes is not growth in local government budgets. These property tax hikes are the result of state policies that require more public costs to be borne by property taxpayers and a larger share of total property taxes to be borne by homeowners.

Yep – since 2002, my property taxes have increased rapidly; from $1,845 in 2002 to $3,374 in 2010 – dam near doubling during the reign of T-Bag The Terrible (a/k/a, “Worst. Governor. EVER.“).

Go to MN2020.org to find out why.

Locally, right here in Eden Prairie, the total city budget in 2002 was $31,942,977; 2010′s was $40,614,931 – no where near the near-doublling of my property tax bill.

Dan Kitrell presents himself as a “conservative” candidate for city council, and I’m sure he’s a fine hubby, dad, and swell neighbor. I briefly talked to him about municipal liquor stores after the candidate forum. I also have exchanged a couple of emails with him, about comments he made about taxes on the web at EdenPrairieNews.com

Dan Kitrell:
“Future success requires the City Council to effectively manage our limited resources and operate within our means. Eden Prairie topped Money magazine’s list of ‘Best Small Cities,’ but our residents pay taxes that are 33 percent higher than the average of the top 100, 18 percent higher than the No. 2 ranked city, and higher than all but two of the top 10 cities. ‘Quality of life’ is best defined by our residents, not the City Council.”

…and at the Candidate Forum on September 28th…

“Most people are aware Money Magazine recognized Eden Prairie as the best small city in America. But Money Magazine also pointed out that our residents pay taxes that are 33% higher than the average of the top 100; 18% higher than the number 2 city, and higher than all but 2 of the top 10 cities. We can do better as a City Council.”

Well, I asked Dan about a comment of his on his facebook page too….

“Clear differences among candidates tonight at the League of Women Voters candidate forum. I am a strong advocate for a transparent budget process and prioritized spending. Other candidates are ready to turn the “tax spigot” on again. “Experienced” candidates have a tax and spend record that will hurt Eden Prairie.”

…. asking if Dan could tell me specifically which “experienced” candidates he feels have a “tax and spend record that will hurt Eden Prairie” and which candidates will “turn the ‘tax spigot’ on again” but he didn’t get back to me on that.

Dan did tell me where he got the info to base his numbers on; they’re from Money Magazine. And he acknowledged he didn’t look at city/county/school and special districts/etc breakdown of property taxes; he just went with “total property tax” rather than “city portion” of the total.

Hence, the title of this post!

Let’s take a look at one of those percentages Dan bandied about; “…our residents pay taxes…18% higher than the number 2 city,…”

To do that, let’s go to the City’s Finance Department of that number 2 city, “Columbia, Maryland” …

… except, you CAN’T go to the “City Finance Department” of “Columbia City, Maryland” – because there ISN’T a “City Government” of “Columbia, Maryland” – nor a Mayor, nor a City Council, nor a Fire Department, Police Department, nor anything – because in Maryland, the COUNTIES usually run the city, as is the case with the number 2 city on Money Magazine’s list, Columbia – and the number 3 city on the list, “Ellicott City, Maryland” too.

Mr. Kitrell is taking data from Money Magazine, and using to compare Eden Prairie’s city government to at least two non-existent city governments. Some might call Mr. Kitrell’s comparison “Apples to Oranges” – I think “Fact to Fiction” is more accurate.

I could analyze just how wrong Mr. Kitrell’s specific “33%” and 18%” comparisons between Eden Prairie’s existing city government’s taxes compared to Columbia and Ellicott City’s NON-existent city taxes is, but what’s the point?

The relevant point is even though I’m sure he’s a fine hubby, dad, and swell neighbor, he’s campaigning on stuff that simply isn’t true.

So far, in the city races, we have GOPer-Endorsed Jon Duckstad, who denied “deficit spending” even though he voted to “deficit spend” and GOPer-Endorsed Donna Azarian, who plaigerized cut ‘n pasted exact lines from disgraced GOPer-Endorsed Mayor Phil Young’s 2006 website to her own, and now “conservative” Dan Kitrell using specific percentages to compare specifically non-existent city governments.

Which makes Dan Kitrell eminently qualified to be a card-carrying member in today’s Republican Party.

I’ve said before and will say it again because as this post clearly demonstrates, “numbers don’t lie, but Republicans use numbers.”

(cross posted from MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcomed there)

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