“Voting rights are under attack in America,” Rep. John Lewis, who was brutally beaten in Alabama while marching during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, observed during an impassioned speech on the House floor in July. “There’s a deliberate and systematic attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, minority and low-income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process.”
Category Archives: Government’s Footprint
If you want a better understanding of how property taxes are calculated take a look at these great videos prepared by the Richfield City Manager.
On July 28, 2011, I interviewed Dana Berliner. She is the attorney for the Institute for Justice representing the plaintiffs before the Minnesota Supreme Court. The plaintiffs are challenging the constitutionality of Red Wing’s rental code ordinance which allows for the issuance of search warrants to inspect homes, even without showing any reasonable suspicion that there may be code violations.
The issue currently before the Minnesota Supreme Court is whether the plaintiffs have “standing” (the right to sue) to challenge the ordinance before search warrants are actually issued.
One thing seems certain, this case, (which has been in the courts for five years and has cost local taxpayers about $200,000), will be coming back to the district court for further litigation. Then up on appeal again to the Minnesota Supreme Court for a decision on the merits of the constitutional issues.
Listen to the interview with Ms. Berliner here. She does a great job explaining what this case is about and why it should matter to you. Individuals would have hardly any ability to challenge government actions were it not for groups like the Institute for Justice.
Visit the Institute for Justice’s analysis and background of the case here. You can look at the categories on the right to view previous posts on this issue.
Attached is a report from the Minnesota State Auditor’s Office showing city revenue and expenditures. I reduced it to include cities from previous comparisons. They are: Albert Lea, Austin, Farmington, Faribault, Hastings, Northfield, Owantonna, Red Wing, Rochester, and Winona. Interesting to see the range of spending among cities in the different categories.
I think we need to have a Truth in Spending Report that requires cities to explain their spending as compared to other cities. Property tax comparisons only present one measure, often distorted. As City Councils begin to grapple with LGA cuts, falling tax capacity. etc., they should want to know how they stack up compared to other cities and why the difference.
View the report here.
Colbert nails it! Governor Dayton vetoed their bill, but they’ll try again next year, maybe in the form of a constitutional amendment.
“We need something a little more selective than a photo ID,” he said. “These ID laws prove Republican legislators are great judges of who should vote, so let’s just cut out the middle man and let only Republican legislators be voters. That way, we will finally be certain that only the right people get elected.”