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Thursday, September 13, 2007

14.6% property tax increase in St. Paul for 2008

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.

16 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

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John Krenik asked me to post this folks.

Hi All,

Yesterday, the St. Paul city council voted to increase the permanent property tax levy for St. Paul by 14.6% for 2008. This comes on the heels of an 8.6% property tax levy increase last year in addition to an increase in property tax rates by Ramsey County of 5% in 2007 and 2008. St. Paul has become one of the highest taxed cities in the state. This property tax increase is simply the wrong path for St. Paul to go down and this will hurt the fiscal health of our city now and into the future.

Our mayor, Chris Coleman stated after the city council adopted this tax increase, "I'm happy that they adopted it. We still have a lot of the details to work out, but it's a good move on the part of the council today," Coleman said. Note to mayor Coleman from John Krenik, "It is NEVER a happy event to impose such a punitive tax on the citizens of St. Paul."

Running a city like St. Paul costs a lot of money, but it is how this money is spent that is a major concern to me. The people of this city work very hard for their money. Each household has a budget they have to keep (heat, water, property taxes and food) and their wages have not kept up to the rate taxes have gone up. Last year I did not receive a 13.6% increase in wages nor will I receive an increase of 19.6% in 2008 to pay for this property tax increase. I see that the Ramsey County Commissioners voted themselves a 25% raise a few months back, I wish I could do that. Families have to meet these increased property tax obligations and they have to work more hours just to keep up, thus taking them away from their families, time they will never get back. This anti-family, progressive tax policy needs to change in St. Paul.

Instead of raising property taxes or asking the state for money, the city needs to be proactive and not regressive in their fiscal policy. Once the city starts down the road of high taxes they will see their revenue dry up faster than a rabbit (you and I) being chased by a hungry dog (taxman).

This property tax increase by mayor Coleman and our city council hits our elderly community extremely hard. Many of these individuals are on a fixed income and this 14.6% tax increase will be devastating to their budgets. The elderly do not see an increase of 14.6% in their retirement. Our most treasured citizens who have worked so hard their entire life are now being taxed to death by unsound fiscal policies of the mayor Coleman administration. This is simply wrong and needs to change!

Our business community needs to have a mayor who will support them, work with them and not work against them. If mayor Coleman’s progressive tax policy continues, we will not have any businesses left in St. Paul. Taxing people and businesses to death is not the key to solving the financial difficulties St. Paul is facing. The only thing such punitive taxing will do is force people to move out of St. Paul and businesses will close. Then who is the city going to go after for their tax money? Will our current city leaders then ask the state for a bailout? Reducing taxes to promote economic development is the way to go, not by raising taxes so excessively. Raising taxes is the easy way around this budget situation by our mayor and some members of our city council, but it does not address the long-term economic viability of our city. St. Paul needs to have a business friendly vision to promote positive economic growth.

By developing sound, long-term strategies like creating a business friendly environment, enabling businesses in St. Paul to be competitive in the marketplace will grow our economy in St. Paul. By doing this the city will not have to rely on LGA from the state. This is only one step in addressing the financial difficulties our city is facing. Mayor Coleman has shown not shown leadership in this area. His anti-business progressive tax policies are hurting St. Paul.

The Mayor and City Council have an obligation to hold the line on spending and not follow a policy of "pay as you go." This is simply not addressing the financial problem our city is now facing. Raising property taxes so excessively is NOT the answer and by doing so will only hurt the economy in St. Paul. The city council needs to look at the overall size of the budget, the number of public employees and taxes in relation to services being provided and hold the line on spending. If there is a budget shortfall then they need to look outside the box in solving this budget problem. Raising property taxes so excessively is not the solution, but only puts a band-aid on the problem, but does not solve the problem.

In my family budget, I have to do with what I have. I do not have the ability to raise my own wages when I feel I want something I currently do not have like the Ramsey County Commissioners have given themselves a 25% increase. The mayor and city council have to treat the St. Paul budget the same way you and I treat our budgets by doing with what you have and finding new solutions to get the things you want, thus making the taxpayer’s dollar go farther. The Mayor and City Council need to be problem solvers, not problem makers. Raising property taxes will only create problems, both short term and long term for our city. By the city raising property taxes by 14.6% and Ramsey County raising property taxes by an additional 5% is excessive. Add into the mix the increased value of properties in St. Paul, as they never go down and this 19.6% property tax increase is significant. I will not get a 19.6% raise in my wages for 2008 to cover this increase.

I believe the budget for St. Paul should be treated like we treat our own budget at home. Spend within your own limits. If I do run for mayor, I will NOT raise taxes beyond the rate of growth of the economy. I will work with the St. Paul business community, trades and labor and the St. Paul legislative delegation to develop a positive economic cycle that promotes growth and development in St. Paul instead of the "pay as you go" tax policies of the current administration.

Raising taxes should always be the last option after exploring all other avenues. I believe in letting families keep their hard-earned money so they can provide for their families.


Sincerely,


John Krenik
St. Paul, Minnesota

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So tell me Mr. Krenik......what is your opinion about the mess the city's code enforcement department has gotten the city into?

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Krenik,

What effect do you feel will be felt by the citizens of St.Paul when the plaintif's in the RICO suit prevail? One would be lead to believe that it will be handled the same way all current losses are, by yet another increase in property taxes to cover the expense.

Concerned citizen

7:36 AM  
Blogger John Krenik for Mayor of St.. Paul said...

Hi All,

A while back in Highland Park we saw a turnover of the local district council. The Highland District Council for many years had been organized and run by mostly one party. After the turnover, it was discovered that not all was, as it should be. HDC owed over $500,000.00 to the state of Minnesota and federal government for back taxes and fines for not paying these taxes. I firmly believe that had this turnover not occurred, we probably would have never heard about it. There were some very good people, who were not elected, but the end justified the means and accountability was established again on the HDC.

Recently, a review of the district councils was conducted. The district council system has been in existence for 32 years now. This report noted that district councils are not very representative of the population, not communicating well and need some help. There is a lack of participation by the community in their district council and this is very troubling. Take a look back at the last two elections in St. Paul for city offices. The one just last Tuesday had one of the lowest turnouts in St. Paul history. In the last mayoral election (Kelly and Coleman), only 24% of the registered voters bothered to show up on Election Day to vote, the other 76% thought it was not important to vote. The majority of votes cast on Election Day may have elected Mayor Coleman, but his election was not a mandate of his policies. The sad fact of all of this is only 24% of the registered voters (59,509) bothered to show up to vote.

You have the same situation today in government in St. Paul today. Like the HDC, one party has run St. Paul for decades. This is good and bad. There have been some outstanding individuals who have served St. Paul well and their service is deeply appreciated. The bad side is when there is a situation like the HDC or a city run by one party for many years things are swept under the rug and there is little or no accountability. It is business as usual. I have a close friend who is a lifelong DFLer and he is very upset at the direction of the DFL party has taken in St. Paul lately.

Since mayor Coleman has taken office, he has taken a very different path than I would have. I am not happy with the city council telling us what is “good” for us or politically correct and taxing us to death. I also take offense to mayor Coleman’s involvement in Sen. Mee Moua’s proposed increase of the beverage tax in the middle of the night without public testimony. Thank goodness this was defeated. The continued push by the mayor for more and more permanent property tax increases is the wrong way to go and this will hurt St. Paul in the long run. If take a look at your property tax bill, you will see the value of your property has not gone down either. Over the last several years, St. Paul has developed over 5,000 new housing units under Mayor Kelly. This is additional revenue coming into the city. A high tax rate does little to help our business and trades to be competitive in the marketplace. It drives the poor and elderly out of their homes. What has to be done in St. Paul is to change this pattern of high tax increases each year and to look at doing things differently. I have a plan to reorganize how the city does business. Change will be difficult for some, but in the long run we will have a better St. Paul that is more efficient. Holding the line on spending is vital. I will bring together city leaders, business leaders and the St. Paul legislative delegation together along with trades and labor to provide St. Paul with better services. Communication between these groups will be the cornerstone of my administration if I run for mayor.

To address the code compliance question. I go back to my days at Cretin High School and the College of St. Thomas. My teachers taught me that we, as a society need to look out for our most vulnerable citizens. Example: There was an elderly woman who owns a beautiful home in Highland Park that was in need of some major help. Clearly she was in over her head and was in need of some much needed help. She did not have any relatives living close by to help her. My wife, children and I went over and gave her a hand. Some people later stated to me why did I do that, why didn’t I just call the city and report her. I tried to explain to this person what good would that do, but they would not listen. As a result of helping this woman, I got to know a really neat person who I would never have met otherwise. My family shared some good will and we received a lot of gratitude back. As part of my administration when I am mayor, I will require each city employee to spend some time each week volunteering in our community.

As for the outcome of the RICO lawsuit, if a court determined that damages occurred then it is the obligation of the city to make things right.

As mayor one of my first acts in office will be to address the behavior of renters. I have never found a building to be selling drugs or doing other illegal acts. If the property owners are going to be held to a high standard, then the renters need to be held accountable for their actions as well.

St. Paul needs to provide for our citizens who need help the most. Working with the private sector, religious and city government in a partnership, I plan to help these individuals that need help the most. Kicking them into the street is not the answer. Helping these individuals get back onto their feet, by teaching them the skills, strategies and giving them the mentoring they need to get back on their feet will be the foundation of my program. This is not a government handout program, but one that utilizes many different resources both public and private to help these people break out of the pattern of poverty. I go back to the old story of the person who is hungry who comes to you for help. You can either give them some food or teach them to fish. The later is the approach I will take.

In closing I want to thank you all for this opportunity to talk with you. I have to congratulate Bob for this forum. A-Democracy is open to all and the issues that are brought to light here are not always allowed on other forums. By restricting discussion like other forums can really stifle communication to get at the core of the problem. One of the first things I am going to do as mayor is take off the door to my office. I am going to have an open door policy where I will set up regular hours each week to meet with the citizens of St. Paul and hear the concerns that they have. These mayoral forums will not be just at city hall, but I will go out into the different communities, during hours when it is convenient for the people and hear what they have to say. This is called Positive Responsive Government (PRG) and this is something St. Paul has lost. I will also encourage the city council to do the same, to set aside a time at all council meetings to hear from the citizens they represent.

I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

John Krenik

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Krenik;

WOW! That was a very powerful statement Mr.Krenik. If you are elected and follow through with even half of your projected plans, you will be a big improvement for St.Paul, your outlook is definitely what the city needs!

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm confused.

In the first entry, Mr. Krenik says "If I do run for mayor..."

But the header later on reads "John Krenik for Mayor of St.. Paul " and is apparently the blog name that Mr Krenic has chosen.

So are you running or not?

I'm tired of pussy-footing politicians who hide behind "ifs" and "buts"

12:09 PM  
Blogger John Krenik said...

Dear Anonymous 12:09 PM

I am very sorry about the confusion. Please let me clear up this confusion. As I have told my wife at the start of this, I will tell things like they are. Some people may not like what they hear.

I am exploring, considering running for mayor of St. Paul and I will be coming to a final decision soon.

I really care about St. Paul and I do not like the direction St. Paul is going. As a parent of children who are going to inherit the fiscal policies of this current administration, I feel very sorry for them.

I will have an open door policy, so citizens, such as yourself can come and tell the mayor the difficulty you are having.

I want a better St. Paul!

Sincerely,

John Krenik

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Mr Krenik....if you want a better St Paul, why don't you start by telling us what you think about the current situation the city is in with the Racketeering lawsuits and the actions of the NHPI office?

1:29 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hi All, John,

Folk's, we know what kind of person it takes to address this Town Hall using their name. "Courage" is the first word that comes to mind.

I really don't think John would be in disagreement with the dominant figures of our Town Hall as often as let's say Eric or Chuck, and yet many of you and myself included have great respect, speckled with admiration for these guys for having the gut's to stand by their words and bounce back when knocked down.

I don't know about you guys but I am impressed with John! John has taken a stand on corruption in public forums in the past and it is with pleasure I see his participation here.

Thanks for weighing in John!

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John is not liked by most people over at Saint Paul Issues and Forums for his conservative veiw points.

I think this qualifies him as a member in good standing here.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is anyone liked over at St.Paul Issues and Forums other then a selected few that have grouped up? If you are a new member they don't even acknowledge your presence, this forum is what I call "freedom of speech" where everyone is welcome to bring their opinion.

John Krenik seems to have some great outlooks for working with the citizens of St.Paul its great to hear that John would have an open door policy to her the voices of the community.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to hear more from you here Mr. Krenik.

Alex Wendt

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Krenik -

Have you ever talked to a girl? I was thinking I might try it?

- Greg Copeland

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr.Krenik I am a property owner in St.Paul and I'm afraid I might need to sell all my property because I won't be able to raise my rents 19%.The city wants us to make more repairs,have more inspections and police our tenants.THIS COST US MONEY.When the profit margins are small a large tax increase will put us into the negative.

I feel sorry for the low income tenants and home owners.This is the final wave of how the city plans on getting rid of them.

I'm Done in this town.
John if you can change it I'll be back.

Sincerly,
Mr. I miss the old St.Paul

11:23 AM  
Anonymous jeff matiatos said...

Jeff Matiatos here,

I would like to dedicate a song
to Mayor Coleman " Taxman " !

Beatles revolver album.

12:05 PM  
Blogger John Krenik said...

Dear Mr. I miss the old St. Paul, (11:23 AM),

First, I want to apologize for not responding to you sooner. I have had some computer difficulties and hopefully this has been corrected.

St. Paul is a great city, do not leave 11:23 AM, not yet at least.

The situation is very bad in St. Paul. With high taxes and corruption,I agree it is not the old St. Paul that it once was.

Concerning your issue with high taxes. Yes the taxes are high in St. Paul and yes, the current economic model being used by mayor Coleman of high taxes is oppressive and is hurting the average taxpayer. The mayor Coleman’s administration is currently locked into an outdated economic model for St. Paul and this is hurting the average citizen to provide for their family.

How to address this poor economic situation, I am proposing a new economic model for St. Paul that promotes investment and redevelopment in St. Paul to return St. Paul to being a vibrant city on the river that it once was. I want to see investment in the North End and East Side areas of St. Paul. I have talked to many of these residents and they deserve better than what they are currently receiving. I want a downtown that is vibrant and not a ghost town. Under the oppressive tax system that mayor Coleman and city council have embraced, it is driving businesses such as yours out of St. Paul. The high tax, anti-business economic model that mayor Coleman is following is showing it's true colors by the high amount of vacant commercial space in Downtown St. Paul and numerous businesses closing due to lack of customers.

Yes, 19.6% increase in property taxes (14.6% city and 5% county) is excessive for 2008, but there are greener days ahead for St. Paul if there is a change in how St. Paul does business. This change can be only achieved by using a different economic model that will reduce and eliminate dependence on LGA. If I do run for mayor and I plan on implementing my own economic model. By doing so, St. Paul will become it’s own town, not dependent on the state of Minnesota for a handout. It will become a driving force that encourages businesses to come here, letting them be competitive in the marketplace. In turn these businesses will reinvest in our community. By providing a positive business economic model for St. Paul is the only way St. Paul will grow and get out of the economic mess we are currently in.

I do not want to be buddy-buddy with Minneapolis, I want to be competitive with Minneapolis and I want to win. Failure is not an option when the economic future of St. Paul is on the line. Competition breeds innovation and if Minneapolis wants to be dependent on the state of Minnesota and continue their pattern of high taxes, anti-business economic model then so let them. These Minneapolis businesses will be welcomed in St. Paul. I want St. Paul to be dependent on no one, but responsible for it’s own destiny.

Yes, I too miss the old St. Paul with a vibrant Downtown, workers being able to provide for their families and not being taxed to death with high taxes, excessive regulation and the new "fee" increases that are being implemented by the Coleman administration. Some of these "fees" are being increased by as much as 65%. Granted these fees have not gone up since 1995, but an increase of 65% is excessive. This is just another oppressive tax/fee on top of our already high taxes on businesses in addition to the 14.6% permanent property tax increase for 2008 and the increase in 2007 of 8.6%.

What is so concerning in light of the $17 million budget shortfall St. Paul is facing is the fact mayor Coleman has not reduced his budget significantly to address this shortfall, but he has instead passed the burden onto the taxpayers for his failed economic policy. By doing so, mayor Coleman is throwing away the economic future of St. Paul. Mayor Coleman has tried to blame his troubles on the governor or past administrations, but I have not seen significant reductions in spending since mayor Coleman was elected. Any property tax increase needs to be held to the level of growth of the economy. If the rate of property tax increase is above the rate of growth of the economy, then it is an oppressive tax. It is the responsibility of the mayor of St. Paul to control spending, to look for new ways to grow businesses and be a watchdog for the people’s money. This is not happening in St. Paul.

There is a limit at to how much you can tax or increase fees on the hard working citizens of St. Paul. St. Paul can be vibrant again, but not under the excessive tax policies of mayor Coleman.


Sincerely,

John Krenik

1:11 PM  

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