Bill Glahn (
by Steve Timmer
Aug 9, 2014, 1:30 PM

More whining from Uncle Billy

Bill Glahn got some ink; he’s very proud of it.

In his letter, Glahn moans the he isn’t getting lower property taxes, and he’s brimming with resentment. He was promised lower real estate taxes! In fact, he is so resentful of the DFL that he isn’t going to vote for Ron Erhardt.

I am sure that Rep. Erhardt was counting on Glahn’s vote. Glahn was trounced by Rep. Erhardt in the last election for House District 49A.

There was an increase in local government aid in the 2012 budget bill (which Ron Erhardt didn’t even vote for, by the way, saying that the tax increase was too much). The increase in local government aid took some of the budget pressure off of cities around the state, the core cities and the rural areas especially. The suburbs? Well, not so much. Edina does not receive local government aid; I don’t think it has for a long time, if ever.

There was also an increase in education funding, which was of assistance to Edina school district.

This certainly either caused a reduction in real estate taxes or held increases down. But not for Uncle Billy, and as I say, he resents it.

It is important, though, to remember who levies real estate taxes: primarily cities, counties, and the school districts. For most people, I think, the county is the biggest one. Guess who is the chair of the board of commissioners in Hennepin County? Jeff Johnson, the Republican-endorsed candidate for governor.

There are currently two state property tax refund programs.

The first one is the homestead credit refund; it is means tested, which Republicans are supposed to like, especially when it comes to slashing social security. The upper limit for the homestead credit refund is a family income of $105,000, which is calculated starting with federal adjusted (not gross) income. If Glahn’s family doesn’t qualify, their income is over that.

$105,000 isn’t an enormous fortune these days, but it’s more than a lot of people make. Moreover, property taxes are deductible on your federal and state income tax return, so Uncle Billy already gets some help from the gubmint paying his local taxes.

The second refund is called the “Special Property Tax Refund,” it’s a form of circuit breaker for tax increases. It is not means tested. In his letter, Glahn says that his real estate taxes went up 9.3%; this refund kicks in if your property taxes go up more than 12%. The refund is calculated at 60% of the increase over 12%.

Of course, nobody at the DFL called up Uncle Billy and said, “Your real estate taxes are going down.” Part of the reason the taxes are up on the Glahn manse is that it’s value has increased. Glahn probably faults the improving economy under the DFL for that, too, but the assessment are done locally, as well.

Bill Glahn has written that it’s okay to fib about political stuff if it furthers your agenda. So you really need to take what he says with a grain of salt.

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