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Wide White: A tax increase I can support

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A tax increase I can support

Tax increases are rarely good, but here's one I support.
A long-running argument over whether Lakeville and Farmington residents should pay more in property taxes for park-and-ride lots — like those in neighboring cities — is again inching its way through the Minnesota Legislature.

The measure would force the two cities, among others, to join the metropolitan transit taxing district.

The push to include Lakeville and Farmington began after the cities' riders started crowding park-and-ride facilities in other communities to use the bus service. South metro cities currently taxed in the district include Burnsville, Eagan, Apple Valley, Rosemount and Savage.

"It's time to do the right thing, which is to expand that district," said Sen. John Doll, DFL-Burnsville, the bill's chief author along with Rep. Shelley Madore, DFL-Apple Valley.
I don't often find myself agreeing with my state senator, but I do on this one.

Why? Because they're using services that we're paying for.

A license plate survey conducted two years ago by the transit authority found that out of 635 vehicles parked in the Apple Valley station and on the street, 41 percent belonged to residents in the taxing district and 59 percent belonged to those outside the district.

About 74 percent of those riders came from Lakeville and Farmington.
So, 44% of all riders using Apple Valley's park and ride (not to mention Burnsville's) are from Lakeville or Farmington, but somehow they shouldn't have to pay the taxes we're paying to support it?

Opponents of this have a good argument.
"You will never be able to push that [tax district] line far enough to capture everyone that is riding on the bus," Mielke said. Along with Lakeville riders, he said, commuters from cities such as Owatonna and Northfield also crowd the park-and-rides.
But come on, when close to half of all riders are coming from your cities, it's time to contribute. We can have a separate argument about whether this taxing district should exist in the first place, but it does exist and if it's going to exist, then those districts with the most residents using it should contribute.

That includes you too, Lakeville and Farmington.


Blogger Bo declared,

Very good points, Joey. I concur wholeheartedly.

Uncle Bo

4/17/2008 5:22 PM  
Blogger Keithslady declared,

Mom's with you, too. Wish dad would chime in.

4/18/2008 2:25 PM  
Blogger Joey declared,

Me too! My guess is he isn't a fan of the tax in the first place. But then, that's not really the debate here. The tax has already been passed. The question now is, who gets taxed?

4/18/2008 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous declared,

I can't imagine Lakeville residents overcrowd the Apple Valley and Burnsville transit facilities. I would like to see this study and its sampling data - sounds like a manufactured survey.

Regardless, as a resident of Lakeville, I'm already paying my share of taxes to a State and county to which most of the funds go elsewhere. So, in the end, if there are Lakeville residents at these transit facilities, they are only getting their fair share.

Don't complain to us because the Apple Valley and Bursnville city councils sold out to higher powers.

4/24/2008 7:56 PM  
Blogger Joey declared,

You don't have to imagine Lakeville residents overcrowding Apple Valley and Burnsville transit facilities. You can go down to one of those facilities any weekday and see it for yourself.

Yes, you pay a significant amount in taxes already. We all do. But these facilities are only taxed through an additional tax. They aren't funded through any current taxes, and currently, Lakeville gets to use it without paying for it. Again, we can go in circles about whether this is the right way to fund transit (or whether it should be funded in the first place), but the decision was made to fund it this way and if it's going to be funded this way, Lakeville should participate too.

4/24/2008 11:28 PM  

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