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Continued: Readers Write: (Aug. 8): Keystone, psychiatric patient's release, hip replacements, airport gambling, property taxes

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  • Last update: August 7, 2013 - 6:34 PM

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The system is a mess, for the wrong reasons

The Aug. 6 editorial “Minnesotans need lower property taxes” barely scratched the surface on the problems with the property tax system. If anything ever was a Rube Goldberg machine, it is this system. It was created piecemeal over the last 155 years through political horse trading, with little or no problem-solving or systems analysis methodology. It is a mess, and it has not gotten better with change, just different. The latest changes are unlikely to reduce property taxes for any middle-class family, especially in the metro area.

The problems with the system are many, but I would start with two issues. The first is credibility. Property owners are completely baffled by the system, and worse, are left with no way to know what their tax liabilities are going to be from year to year. Some are at risk every year of losing their homes if taxes jump beyond what they can afford.

Second, the system is highly inefficient, costing Minnesota taxpayers at least $1.5 billion a year and likely more when considering staffing, facilities and equipment for the various government units and tax districts. And it is considered an industry unto itself, with large, well-organized lobbying, just as with other special interests. Where is the political will to really fix property taxes using modern management methodology and not just politics?

DAVID SADLER, Minneapolis

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