Archived Story

Taxation without representation [UPDATED]

Published 9:40am Wednesday, November 28, 2012 Updated 11:41am Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I live outside the city limits of Fergus Falls. I have some residential and commercial rental property within the city limits. As a landlord you try to balance the fine line of providing a comfortable space for a reasonable price.

Most people that seek to rent a residential unit usually are in an economic situation which does not allow them to purchase a home. That same economic factor plays a big role in how much rent they can afford.

The rent for a given unit is usually based upon the cost and expenses incurred by the landlord. With a little management those expenses can be kept pretty consistent.

The one expense that a property owner cannot control individually is property tax. If I review the 10 year history of one of my single family dwellings in the city, I can compute a yearly tax expense increase of 9 percent.

The yearly property valuation increased by 2 percent over that same time period. Minimum wage increased by 4 percent per year. It is not hard to see that respectively the tax has increased significantly more than the asset and income.

Now in order to recover the tax expense I have to make a choice, do I in times of economic hardship reduce my own income or do I reduce the usable income of my tenants. Either way, the result is the undesirable outcome of the majority vote on fiscal issues by a City Council that seems uncaring toward the mechanics of the public money supply.

It would appear that it is more important to satisfy special interest groups then to actually use financial responsibility to fund economically sound public projects.

This community has a history of being financially solid.

In the last few years however it appears that there have been very few publicly funded projects that had a solid financial footing.

The handling of the golf course deficit was the latest demonstration of monetary mismanagement.

I would bet that if the funds for any public project would be partially backed by the retirement accounts of the city council members and the project supporters, we would have a city that would be far more considered of tax dollars spent.

That in turn would make me feel a whole lot better about being taxed without my ability to vote for the folks that are responsible for redistributing my property tax dollars.


Sander Habraken

Fergus Falls


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