State government vs. county government

There has been a lot of arguing back and forth over whether cuts in the state budget at the Capitol would result in property tax increases at the county level.

Today, a group of Republicans filed a bill to settle the dispute by freezing county spending.

The bill reads in part:


Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, for purposes of the certification required by Minnesota Statutes, section 275.07, subdivision 1, in 2011, no local taxing authority shall certify to the county auditor a property tax levy greater than the amount certified to the county auditor pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 275.07,subdivision 1, in the prior year, except as provided in this section..

It also prevents wage and benefit increases, and prevents new bonding or debt.

The obvious question that will come up if the bill gets a hearing is whether state lawmakers, who are against many mandates to local governments, should be making spending decisions for county governments.

What’s your view?

Other bills filed at the Minnesota House of Representatives today would:

— Prohibit anyone from getting a driver’s license or driving instruction who isn’t in school.

— Provides automatic voter registration to people applying for or renewing a driver’s license.

— Endorse changing the method of electing a president by eliminating the “electoral college” and electing presidents by popular vote.

— Cap the amount of money that can be spent on youth sports and libraries from the Twins stadium tax in Hennepin County.

— Put another Constitutional amendment on the ballot which would allowing “agricultural land, nonhomesteaded, noncommercial real property owners, and small business property owners to vote on bonding and property tax questions.”

— Remove the cap on greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota.

— Add a 2.5 percent tax on alcohol. It’s called a “judicial and health impact fee.”

  • John P.

    Oh, how they would howl about violations of states rights if the feds tried to do the same to them!

  • Crazy lunatics.

  • AD

    This year’s legislature is downright scary. Why is it any of the state legislature’s business how the counties pay their teachers and other employees or fund their libraries and youth programs?

  • Cara

    It’s all about shoving the hard decisions off to someone further down the food chain.

  • BJ

    I would love to see the state REMOVE the limits on taxing that they have in place already. County, city and schools don’t have an unlimited taxing authority.

  • Kassie

    — Prohibit anyone from getting a driver’s license or driving instruction who isn’t in school.

    I assume this is for under 18 crowd, not just anyone. Because, well, that would be a huge burden for a working adult.

    — Provides automatic voter registration to people applying for or renewing a driver’s license.

    While I like the idea, I’m hoping there is an opt out, or something. You don’t need to be a US Citizen to get a license, yet. And Felons are still allowed to get licenses. As are 16 year olds.

  • Bob Collins

    Yes 18 and under.

  • Alison

    1. Can they do away with the electoral college? Isn’t that a federal thing? (Re:Kathy – Diddo)

    2. \\agricultural land, nonhomesteaded, noncommercial real property owners, and small business property owners to vote on bonding and property tax questions

    Any idea what this means in plain English? Is this supposed to keep non-land owners from voting on property tax questions? Is this trying to give landlords a vote in a referendum in a place where they own property but don’t actually live? I suspect neither of these is correct, but I wish someone would explain it.

    3.Cap the amount of money that can be spent on youth sports and libraries from the Twins stadium tax in Hennepin County

    Lets cap the amount that can be given to billionaires instead.

  • John O.

    Alison, the basic premise of your #2 is that the owners of businesses and other nonhomesteads do not vote in any local election where the property is located, yet generate a significant portion of property tax revenue.

    If a business owner owns, say, 15 different properties in 15 different locations and lives in yet another location, would this proposed amendment give that person the right to vote on levies and/or referendums in up to 16 different cities? What if there are three owners? Do each of them get their own vote? If they own three small businesses in their community and live there as well, do they get four votes then on questions regarding levies and referenda?

    This proposal would seem (at least on the surface) to potentially challenge the concept of “one person, one vote.”

  • c

    good observation John O.-a regula veil lifting if you will

  • Alison

    Great. Voting based on property ownership. I thought that was a concept that was dead and gone. Hopefully it still is. Thanks, John.

  • JackU

    Since their Federal counterparts in the Congress like to give their bills snappy soundbite names I suggest that this bill be called: The Job Killing, Infrastructure Demolishing, Income Protection for Commercial Property owners bill.

    And the Republicans should be careful about removing the Electoral College. Of the 4 times that the President has been elected with a minority of the popular vote, but a majority of the electoral vote, 3 of the winners were Republican. The fourth John Quincy Adams in 1824 was prior to the formation of the Republican party. Still he defeated Andrew Jackson who is viewed as the founder of the Democratic Party. (Source: FactCheck.org)

  • Paul

    The other absurdity of Minnesota endorsing the abolition of the electoral college is that the electoral system mostly benefits the less densely populated states in the middle of the country (like MN). If it were a straight popular vote, politicians would only need to serve the interests of people in coastal areas and big cities where the greatest number of people live, and where peoples’ interests likely differ from those in rural areas and Midwestern states.

    Also is this another example of the legislature’s stated focus on jobs and the economy? If it is I am struggling to see the link.