Pawlenty made the commitment when he took office to not raise taxes but now after 8 years in office he has dramatically raised property taxes. His office would claim that they have not raised taxes but his auctions have directly caused property taxes to rise.
When Pawlenty has continuously cut local government aid it leaves very few options for the local governments to do anything but raise property taxes. Recently Rebecca Otto has written an op-ed in the Star Tribune commenting on the effects of Pawlenty’s policies on property taxes she references the 2008 City Finance Report in which it states that from 1999 to 2008 the income received from property taxes in cities have increased 102 percent. While at the same time when adjusted for inflation the expenditure of cities has gone down. This is an indication that property taxes are making up more of the city’s budget and Otto attributes that to continual cutting of local government aid done my Pawlenty.
This graph from Minnesota 2020 is an example of the increase in property taxes with the decrease in local government aid.
For a small example given to me by a city council person in St. Paul the total amount to be collected from property taxes in St. Paul in 2010 is 99 million dollars and at the end of the 2009 session they were slated for 64 million dollars in local government aid with Pawlenty’s new budget that number has been reduced to 52 million dollars. This is a significant 12 million dollars that will need to be made up elsewhere and if they were to make that up in property taxes alone it would be a dramatic increase of approximately 12% of the total amount of property taxes collected meaning that it would increase property taxes on residents.
Additionally Pawlenty has raised taxes by shifting the burden of taxes onto property owners of private properties as opposed to commercial properties. As discussed earlier the City of St. Paul for example is able to set the amount of property taxes they want to collect but the percentages of commercial compared to private properties. Several years ago Pawlenty changed the rate of property taxes that put more of an emphasis on private property to lift some of the tax burden from commercial and corporations. This article from Minnesota 2020 (a admittedly progressive think tank) highlights how the new budget proposed by the governor will increase property taxes.
I could post hyperlink after hyperlink of articles discussing how Pawlenty's policies have lead to property tax increases but it might get a little aggressive so next time you are voting in your local elections make sure your anger is well placed.