Because They Don’t Have Courage – Anoka Transit Tax Increase
ABC Newspapers has a write-up about the Anoka County vote from Tuesday. I was at the meeting and let me tell you the good old boys network was in rare, er usual, form.
What Anoka did vote for (5 to 2) is an increase in the County Sales Tax for the sole purpose of choo choo trains, as well asÂ to join the new shadow bureaucracy created by willing Metro counties dubbed a Joint Powers Board. But it is far from a joint venture and soon Anoka residents will see that their County Board sold them out to Hennepin and Ramsey county. There is no equality in the voting strength of the Board, so Anoka tax dollars sent in do not have to come back.
The ABC story has some very nice quotes that Anoka County citizens need to remember.
â€œThis is really the first time weâ€™ve had the option to pay for it other than property taxes,â€ [Chair] Berg said.
That’s an all out lie. Yes, a big fat lie. The County could have increased the sales tax to pay for the Northstar stations at any time previous. They have the power to raise their own sales taxes. They just need to have the voters approve the action first. That’s the representation before taxation. They know their socialistic planning would fail overwhelmingly if voters had their say.
The Board is controlled by 5 men who have lost sight of the fact that they are there to serve the public not dictate to them on how they shall live their lives.
â€œWe keep saying we need to find a better way than property taxes, and this is a way to do it.â€ [Berg]
During the meeting Berg and the other men on the Board refused to commit to lowering property taxes due to this new revenue. They repeatedly argued against measures to reduce taxation in equal amounts to this new tax increase.
Operating costs for Northstar Commuter rail will shift from property taxes to the new sales tax in 2009.
Property taxes for mass transit will not go down. You can quote me on that.
â€œIf we donâ€™t pass this, then itâ€™s only going to property owners,â€ Commissioner Scott LeDoux said, referring to transit funding.
If you read through the story you can get the gist of how un-Democratic this Joint Powers board is. I have the powerpoint presentation used at the meeting and will get it posted asap.
Also key to the meeting is that a number of the Commissioners actually said they don’t see roads as part of the solution to congestion, in not so many words. Comm. Erhart went so far as to say he wants to create an Anoka County where citizens no longer need to have a car. They are committing their time and our money toward building Northstar and another commuter rail line to Duluth. That is their plan to solve the congestion we all face on a daily basis.
One last thing of note for citizens of Anoka is that the majority of the Board members refused to allow any public comments or input on the tax increase and Joint Powers before they voted. They are on record saying you shouldn’t have any input.
Before the vote on the joint powers agreement and sales tax increase, Sivarajah made a motion to table board action on the resolutions to allow time for a public hearing on the proposed sales tax increase.
â€œWeâ€™re really trying to push this through,â€ she said. â€œThis is a major issue and I think we should set the public hearing.â€
The motion failed on a 5-2 vote, with Sivarajah and West voting for the public hearing.
Sivarajah then made a motion to allow public comment at the county board meeting.
That motion also failed by a 4-3 roll call vote, with Lang, Sivarajah and West voting to hear public comment.
The Commissioners who support rail over road and who thrive under the shadow the DFL Legislature gave them by waving the referendum requirement were terrified of having the public show up and find out what they were really up to. The County does not broadcast or promote their meetings and citizens have to contact the local cable station themselves to get tapes of the working hour meetings where those of us struggling to get along don’t have time to come. Other municipalities now have meetings on demand.
It is just disgusting the way these 5 men abused their power this week.
Stay tuned, my company got our letter from MN Chamber where they defended their actions to create one of the biggest tax increases in MN History by blaming us. I’ll be posting on that as well.