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Legislature Passes Bonding and Vikings Bills, Neglects Skyrocketing Property Taxes

Rep. John Benson: "The legislature missed several opportunities to reduce the deficit, pay back the billions of dollars it still owes our schools, or to significantly lower residential property taxes."

To the editor:

The 2012 Legislative Session has adjourned. Our state leaves the biennium with a continuing fiscal deficit; we still owe our public schools over two billion dollars, while property taxes have increased by $370 million. Much of the property tax increase was caused by the elimination of the Homestead Credit last year. I opposed the elimination of this credit that benefited 95 percent of homeowners. I co-authored a Homestead Credit restoration bill, but was unable to convince the majority party to restore the credit.

I voted for the state infrastructure bonding bill in spite of the fact that the state’s portion of the funding of the Southwest Light Rail Line was not included. The Twin West Chamber of Commerce, all the city mayors and city councils along the proposed route of the LRT strongly supported the project. The bonding bill does open a door to fund SW LRT through a $47.5 million business development grant program. I have encouraged Governor Dayton to dedicate some of this funding for the LRT project.

I believed it was time to end the Vikings Stadium debate this session. I voted for several amendments to the bill which significantly improved the package for the state and lowered the state’s funding share of the project.

The legislature missed several opportunities to reduce the deficit, pay back the billions of dollars it still owes our schools, or to significantly lower residential property taxes.

Yet I am convinced that if we reduce the corrosive effects of political partisanship here in St. Paul, we can start anew to work together for the common good. Most Minnesotans want, no demand, an end to partisan warfare and I agree with that sentiment. It has been and continues to be an honor to serve you in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Sincerely,

John Benson

State Representative

District 43B – Minnetonka/Plymouth

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