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Letter: Tax bill provided no property tax relief to homeowners

In a recent letter to the editor, Minnesota Representative Steve Drazkowski came to the defense of Rep. Jeff Backer over the big property tax increases that are coming for homeowners in west central Minnesota. However, Rep. Drazkowski left out some important information. Most importantly, he didn’t mention that Rep. Backer voted for a tax bill that provided $0 in direct property tax relief to homeowners and not a single dime of desperately-needed LGA for our local cities and counties. Notably, that same bill provided billions in permanent tax breaks to the owners of businesses, with the largest businesses in the state cashing in with the largest tax cut. Now, according to the Department of Revenue, property taxes in Morris are set to increase by 6.7 percent and even more (11.5 percent) in Wheaton!

Why would Rep. Backer vote for a tax bill that provided billions in permanent tax cuts for the biggest businesses in the state, but provided zero dollars in property tax relief to homeowners in our region? More specifically, why, for example, did Rep. Backer think the owner of the Mall of America deserves a property tax cut but not homeowners in Morris, Breckenridge, Wheaton, or Starbuck?  

Our state’s economy is improving and we are running a budget surplus, but there’s plenty of families in our region that haven’t felt that recovery yet. It would appear that Rep. Backer’s answer is to provide tax breaks to the big businesses in the metro area that are already doing quite well. Meanwhile, hardworking people in west central Minnesota have a property tax hike to look forward to this year. Certainly doesn't seem like the right set of priorities for "our" representative.