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Our view: Here's why expanding the tax base matters

Everyone from political candidates to elected leaders to chambers of commerce to this newspaper's editorial board has harped on the dire need, especially in Duluth, to "expand the tax base."...

Everyone from political candidates to elected leaders to chambers of commerce to this newspaper's editorial board has harped on the dire need, especially in Duluth, to "expand the tax base."

Ever wondered why?

The story in today's paper (first reported yesterday at duluthnewstribune.com) about St. Louis County's tax levy serves as a prime example why.

Commissioners voted 5-1 during their meeting in Duluth to set at 1.3 percent the maximum amount they can raise taxes for next year. Despite that increase, however, homeowners can expect the county share of their taxes to remain flat or even go down, as the News Tribune's John Myers reported. Even with the county raising its portion of tax bills (assuming the 1.3 percent levy is finalized with the budget in December), the owner of a $150,000 home could see the county's share of taxes reduced by about $20 in 2010 from 2009.

How is that possible?

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More people paying taxes.

Several special taxing districts expire next year, making more property taxable. In other words, creating a wider base from which taxes are collected.

The same thing happens every time a new house is built or a new business opens its doors. Thus all the clamoring for economic development; for strong, modern schools that attract young families; for industries with good-paying jobs; for new investment; and for a business-friendly community climate.

All of it grows the tax base that pays to fix streets, replace aging sewers, fight crime, battle blazes and cover all the other ongoing and always-growing government costs.

The result is better potential for a financially healthy community -- and taxpayers who aren't so overburdened

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