Sen. Sparks says no to property tax, tuition hikes
State Senator Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, said he is proud to be among 27 Minnesota Senate Democrats who stood up against a $322 million property tax increases on all Minnesotans today.
Regarding House File 130, which passed the Senate 37-27 on a party-line vote Thursday, Sen. Sparks said:
“This legislation has gotten a lot of attention in our region. Cutting $487 million from state aids to local governments has been billed, by some, as a ‘responsible’ spending cut to state government. We know better.
The city councils, chambers of commerce and other organizations in Austin, Albert Lea and many other cities have been very vocal about the fact that the state aid cuts are a direct cause of higher property taxes and reduced local services. Maybe big cities can absorb these kinds of cuts, but here in rural Minnesota, almost half of our local budgets are made up of state aids. Without that money, we’d all be looking at a lot more property tax increases or a lot less fire and police protection, road maintenance, snow plowing and other services.
In addition, the bill asked for nearly a $1 million cut to Riverland Community College. Aside from that being a devastating blow to an institution that’s a vital part of our local economy, the students and families struggling to pay for these higher education costs just can’t afford the tuition hike that cut would require.
Finally, the horrible cuts to veterans and the military included in this bill – basic things, like reimbursements to honor guard units at military funerals or repairs at the state’s Veterans Homes – are unacceptable. I am fully committed to solving our state’s budget crisis, but absolutely not on the backs of veterans and the military, property tax payers or families paying tuition.”
For more information, please contact Sen. Sparks at 651-296-9248 or 507-438-2898.