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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Feudal (or is it futile?) System

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 05/02/05 21:30

By Dave Mindeman

Scene 1: The Middle Ages. The landowner has all the rights and your voting rights increase as you acquire more property. Tax collections, payment, and grievances involve only the landowners. The property owner's tenants have no rights. If taxes increase, the rent on the land increases. If the tenant objects, a new tenant is found. The Tenant's increased expenses reduces his ability to make a living and it's without redress or representation.

Scene 2: The 2005 Republican House Caucus and Governor. Proposals on the table -- "Truth in Taxation"-- meaning property owners, and only the owners, will get the right to weigh in on proposed property tax increases. Postcards with objections can trigger a referendum. Landlords get a postcard for EACH unit of property. Landlords get more than one card, tenants get none. In Minnesota, at least up until now, tenants could get some relief in a renters' credit as an umbrella against escalating tax triggered rent increases. The GOP Caucus has proposed slashing that credit by 25% affecting 270,000 Minnesotans; 1/3 of them earning incomes less than $46,000 per year. If the taxes go up, the rent goes up. If the tenant objects, a new tenant can be found.

Any similarities between Scene 1 and Scene 2 are purely coincidental.
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