The complex truth behind the political spin on property taxes

Categories: Taxes

Jeramey Jannene

Taxes can be complicated. That was the case earlier this week, when a report on property taxes from the Minnesota legislature's House Research Department became something of a rallying point for the state's Republicans, with many coming out saying that the report, and its projections for property taxes over the next two years, clearly shows an attack on the middle class.

Minnesota GOP Rep. Matt Dean has been especially vocal on Twitter, writing in a tweet on Wednesday that, "The bullseye was stuck on greater MN & suburban families. They raised their taxes plain & simple."

See also:
Here's why Minnesota's relatively high tax rate isn't necessarily a bad thing

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Here's why Minnesota's relatively high tax rate isn't necessarily a bad thing

Categories: Lists, Taxes
You know the old saying, "You get what you pay for?" WalletHub's state-by-state analysis of what residents pay in state taxes compared to the services they get for them shows that Minnesota taxpayers are getting at least that much.

The study finds that Minnesota has the best government services in the entire nation. However, only 12 states (including D.C.) have higher tax rates. When the two are put together, Minnesota comes out with the 17th-best return on investment (ROI) with regard to taxes of any state.

See also:
Star Tribune publishes anti-tax letter written by TCF Bank CEO and doesn't identify him

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Smoke shop worker says customers cry, ask for single cig thanks to new tax

Categories: Taxes
Sure, smokers aren't thrilled with the $1.60-per-pack tax that went into effect in July, but would you believe some are crying about it?

SEE ALSO: E-cigs banned at Target Field

That's how the sticker shock has manifested itself at one Twin Cities smoke shop, if a worker there can be believed.

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Lung Association's Bob Moffitt looks forward to July, when cig taxes go up $1.60 per pack [INTERVIEW]

Categories: Taxes
Moffitt, a former smoker himself, has arguably become Minnesota's leading anti-cigarette activist.
After a $1.60-per-pack cigarette tax increase goes into effect on July 1, Bob Moffitt expects many Minnesota smokers to do as he did after college and quit.

Moffitt, director of media relations for the American Lung Association in Minnesota, says he kicked his cigarette habit cold turkey many years ago, and he supports the move Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature made this session to make Minnesota's cigarette taxes the highest in the five-state area.

FROM JANUARY: Smoking is slowly becoming illegal in Minnesota

"We expect our phones to be ringing off the hook after July 1," Moffitt said. "We expect a lot of calls from people who want to quit."

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History suggests increasing Minnesota cigarette tax won't be as lucrative for state as some think

Categories: Taxes
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Doubling cig taxes may reduce smoking, but it won't necessarily produce a cash infusion for the state.
In a commentary published in the Star Tribune today, economist Patrick Fleenor of Fiscal Economics Inc. makes a persuasive case that the state stands to gain less than lawmakers think from a GOP-proposed cigarette tax hike.

Minnesota's cigarette tax is currently near the national average, but the GOP proposal would raise the per-pack tax from $1.23 to more $2.52 per pack. That could amount to as much as $320 million annually for the state -- if people buy cigarettes legally.

And therein lies the problem, Fleenor argues. History shows that when Minnesota's cigarette taxes get out of whack with the rest of the country, people start smuggling cigarettes. And when people start smuggling cigarettes, taxed sales drop.

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In unusual move, GOP legislators propose tax increase

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Two GOP senators are proposing a tobacco tax hike.
Two Republican senators have introduced a bill to increase the state's tobacco tax from 35 percent to more than 47 percent.

The tax revenue, which could amount to as much as $320 million, would be funneled into the state's general treasury. According to Politics in Minnesota, earlier this week, one of the bill's co-sponsors -- Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester (the other is Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont) -- touted the increased tobacco tax as a way the state could reimburse schools the $2 billion owed them as a result of the funding shift used to pay down last summer's budget deficit.

The bill, which represents a rare instance of Republican legislators proposing a tax increase, now heads to the Senate Tax Committee.

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Minnesotans support taxing smokers to close budget gap

Categories: Taxes

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More than half the survey respondents would support increased cigarette prices.
​If the stress from thinking about Minnesota's budget deficit makes you think about lighting up a smoke, think again. Nearly 60 percent of Minnesotans would support increasing cigarette state taxes on tobacco to help solve the state's looming $5 billion budget deficit.

Those respondents supporting a tax increase weren't thinking in small numbers: 70 percent of those who favored an increase would approve of raising cigarette prices by up to $1.50.

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Prince listed as owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Carver County back taxes

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Carver County has filed public notice in the Chaska Herald that Prince, under his legal name Prince R. Nelson according to the Strib, and his PRN Studios, owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes.

We dug through the legal notices, and sure enough, he and his properties are listed in there right along side regular people who can't make a guitar weep while doing the splits in a sequined suit and high heels. His PRN Music Corp. in Chanhassen Lakes Business Park owes the largest amount listed: $221,891.88.

Like everyone else, Prince must either pay the tax and penalty, plus interest and costs, or file a written objection with the district court administrator by April 21. If he doesn't file an objection, the property could come under court judgment, including the possibility of losing the property through forfeiture.

Here are some of the properties listed:

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Hecker owes $2.6 million in income taxes, IRS says

Categories: Notable MN, Taxes
Bankrupted auto giant Denny Hecker has been circled by his creditors since last year for money owed. Now the Internal Revenue Service is on his tail too for a hefty sum of cash.

The IRS says Hecker and his wife owe at least $2.6 million in income taxes from 2003 and 2005, according to a May 11 filing. The IRS put liens on all of Hecker's property so if they sell it, the U.S. government gets a chunk of the dough.

Hecker filed personal bankruptcy this month, claiming nearly 1,000 creditors say he owes them nearly $1 billion.

Best of luck, sir.

Minn. DFL proposes increasing taxes on all things that matter

Categories: Booze, T-Paw, Taxes
Photo by iluvrhinestones
In the proposal announced today by Minnesota Democrats, the legislators have come up with the genius idea of taxing all things that really matter in life: booze, cigarettes, and rich people.

Seriously, folks. When do we say enough is enough? Apparently when your state has a $4.6 billion deficit, the best option is to tax the sinners.

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