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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

LMV - Homeowner Protection?

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 10/06/05 15:49

by Paul Bartlett, Accredited Minnesota Assessor (retired)

I recently received a political flier in the mail from Tim Wilkin, Republican House Representative from 38A (Eagan-Burnsville). The
flier is a litany of Wilkin?s ?accomplishments? and contained a statement that leaped off the glossy page: ?Homeowners will be protected from higher property taxes due to an extension of the Limited Market Value program for two more years.?

Politicians toot their own horn, and I?m just fine with that.
However, Wilkin?s statement is highly incomplete and misleading; the voters will determine if it is disingenuous. Without diving into the internal mechanics of an extremely complex and arcane law, I must respond to the suggestion that Limited Market Value aids all homeowners. Two points:

First, not all homeowners benefit from the LMV subsidy. In fact, a recent DOR study concluded that approximately two thirds of Minnesota homeowners have seen higher property taxes due to the LMV engineered tax shift. Only the owners of existing homes located in ?high? home inflation neighborhoods received the subsidy. All owners of new homes and homes located in low inflation areas have been royally gouged by LMV. Because LMV does not constrain levies, it has ratcheted up tax rates by suppressing the tax base. LMV has craftily shifted property taxes and resulted in what certainly is one of the nation?s most inequitable property assessment and tax systems.

Second, Minnesota?s founders were apparently more concerned with
property tax fairness than the current crop of state legislators. The
philosophical underpinning of nearly all assessment laws is known as ?uniformity? or ?equity?. These terms mean that homes of equal true market value in the same tax district should (heck, must) have equal tax burdens. Under LMV, an older home and new home of identical true market value can carry significantly different tax burdens.

Our founders embraced a commitment to fairness. Article 10 of the
Minnesota Constitution includes: ?Taxes shall be uniform upon the
same class of subjects.? For the privileged few, LMV has replaced full value assessments with limited values. These folks receive the tax subsidy; non recipients pay a visit to the cleaners. LMV is an
affront to the Minnesota Constitution and the notion of tax fairness. LMV has managed to skirt Article 10 by applying uniform tax rates to non uniform assessments. It?s an abomination!

Watch your legislator. Any legislator who claims credit for this
ponzi scheme is jerking on his/her constituents? collective chain.
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Could the Dems Take Back the US Senate in '06?

Category: US Politics
Posted: 10/05/05 19:57, Edited: 11/17/05 12:21

by Dave Mindeman

It is time to take a look at the crystal ball going into 2006. A year is a lifetime in politics but nobody gets penalized for speculating, at least I hope not. This week, let's examine the US Senate and evaluate chances for Democrats to take back control.

First of all, we have to start with a negative for the Dems since only 15 Republicans are up for election against 18 Democrats. Secondly, an additional Democratic disadvantage is added because the Republicans will only have one open seat (Tennessee) while Democrats have 3 definite (Minnesota, Vermont, and Maryland) plus another possible one if Senator Corzine wins the Governorship in New Jersey.

Here's a layman analysis with some predictions:

George Allen --(Virginia)(R): For the most part this is a fairly safe Republican seat if Gov. Mark Warner doesn't challenge Allen. If he does, polls indicate it would be a toss-up. The rumor mill has it that Ben Affleck is thinking of a run here, if Warner doesn't. Whoa!!! Now that would be an instant media grabber. Prediction: Republican Allen holds seat.

Daniel Akaka --(Hawaii)(D): No serious challenger is emerging here, even though the state has shown some resurgence by Republicans. Democrats still have a huge voter registration edge.
Prediciton: Democrat Akaka is safe.

Jeff Bingaman --(New Mexico)(D): Republicans say he's vulnerable; Polls say he's popular. The only clinker on this one is that Bingaman could retire. If that's the case, look for Governor Bill Richardson to enter the fray and probably win. Prediction: Democrat Bingaman runs and is safe.

Conrad Burns --(Montana)(R): Burns has managed to survive squeakers each election cycle. His gender gap is huge and he is definitely labeled hard right. In a state that has seen some Democratic victories lately, this could be a ripe time to turn this seat over. The Democrat's problem here is they don't have a big state-wide name to run. The State Auditor and the State Senate leader are the main contenders but they have poor name recognition. Having said that, I think Burns will still fall in a big upset. Prediction: Burns loses to either Democrat.

Robert Byrd -- (West Virginia) (D): The Republicans main hope to unseat Byrd (Shelley Capito) recently decided to withdraw from the race. It is a mild surprise that Byrd didn't retire; he is certainly not the same Senator he once was. But in this state, he will probably win on what he was rather than what he is now. Prediction: Byrd holds seat for Democrats.

Lincoln Chaffee --(Rhode Island) (R): Would you believe this state has an 18% Republican rating? So how does Chaffee hold this seat? He holds it because he governs like a Democrat. This could be a really interesting seat because rumors abound that Stephen Laffey may challenge him in a primary... Laffey is a conservative lackey and if he would, by some miracle, win -- that would cinch it for the Democrats. As it is, Chaffee still may have a tough time; people still respect the Chaffee name in Rhode Island... his father was a rock solid moderate Republican. Lincoln has served in his fathers mold and the state has rewarded his independence. Prediction: Chaffee holds the seat for himself but not necessarily Republicans.

Maria Cantwell -- (Washington)(D): Cantwell isn't hugely popular in Washington but speculation that failed Republican governor candidate, Dino Rossi, might run against her have been ended and a strong state wide candidate can't be found for now. She will probably hold onto the seat if the Democrats have a strong year. Prediction: Cantwell holds seat for Democrats --but its close.

Thomas Carper --(Delware)(D): Although not a limelight Senator, he has done a solid job and is a popular figure in a very Democratic state. He is about as safe as can be. Prediction: Carper wins big to hold seat for Democrats.

Hillary Rodham Clinton-- (New York)(D): Hillary would normally be put in a safe column and its not that her probable opponent, Jeanine Pirro, is that scary. The problem is all the money that is going to pour into New York on a "Stop Hillary" movement. The Republicans are afraid of her in a big way and if they have any chance of defeating her in the Senate, they will pull out all the stops. What encourages the Democrats the most is that Governor Pataki and Rudy Giuliani nixed any run very early and thus eliminated the most credible and deep pocket opponents. Still, Hillary will have to run hard. Prediction: Hillary wins and holds seat but in a closer than expected election.

Kent Conrad -- (North Dakota)(D): The speculation was, that Republican Governor John Hoeven was going to take on Senator Conrad and make this a very interesting race. But Hoeven, like a lot of top Republican opponents opted to sit it out. The trend seems to be Republican uncertainty running with a President with plunging numbers, even in deep red states. Hoeven was really the only Republican that had a chance -- Conrad is a fiscal conservative and popular. Prediction: Conrad wins in a landslide and holds seat.

John Corzine --(New Jersey)(D): Here is where Democrats have a real problem. Corzine decided to run for governor of New Jersey and all indications show a likely win for him. That means he would appoint his replacement and in a state known for political corruption, that appointment will be criticized no matter who it is. His replacement would then have to run in the 2006 election and the Republicans would have him or her on the target list big time. This will be close but if it is still a Democratic year overall, this blue state should hold. Prediction: Close win for Corzine successor.

Mark Dayton --(Minnesota)(D): Dayton announced his retirement and Mark Kennedy locked up the Republican nomination early. The Democrats have a good field but with different strengths and weaknesses. This is one of those times when a competitive endorsement may help the eventual candidate. They can stay in the news and build up name recognition and hone some campaign skills. Amy Klobuchar is a proven fund raiser, Patty Wetterling has positive name recognition and Ford Bell has excellent grass roots ties. It will be close, on all levels. Prediction: Democratic choice wins a squeaker.

Mike DeWine --(Ohio)(R): DeWine is not very popular in conservative circles, but he keeps his nose clean enough that he holds their endorsement. This has taken an interesting turn lately because Paul Hackett, the Iraq Vet that narrowly lost a Congressional seat has announced his intention to run for the senate. Given the scandal ridden Republican state government currently in power with Republican fatigue developing state wide, this will be one of the races to watch. If DeWine were more of a right winger, the Democrats would walk away with this. Prediction: Paul Hackett is the next Senator from Ohio!

John Ensign --(Nevada)(R): This is one of those "safe" seats that could develop. Nevada is a red state but only marginally. There is speculation that Jack Carter, the eldest son of President Jimmy Carter may decide to run for this seat. Apparently, the Hurricane debacle moved him to take broader action than helping repair the damage. It would still be a long shot as Ensign is still fairly popular and worked hard to oppose the Yucca Mountain situation. Prediction: Ensign wins easily to hold seat for Republicans.

Dianne Feinstein --(California)(D): Senator Feinstein is a virtual institution in California. She is a much less polarizing figure than her junior Senate partner, Barbara Boxer. I haven't heard of a credible opponent coming forward. Prediction: Easy win for Feinstein.

Bill Frist -- (Tennessee)(R): The Senate majority leader says he's retiring. I think it was assumed he would be running for President in 2008 -- with a conservative base bailing out in droves on him, good luck and don't look back. His seat still looks Republican as Congressman Ed Bryant may be a strong Republican candidate. Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. is the probably Democrat and he is a great campaigner. Watch this one close... if this race develops, a lot of investment could end up here. Prediction: Senator Ford has a ring to it!

Orrin Hatch --(Utah)(R): A powerful committee chairman with a long history and from a state so red, it's maroon! Who are we kidding... Prediction: Hatch in a cakewalk for the Republicans.

Kay Bailey Hutchison --(Texas)(R): She flirted with a primary run against her own Republican Govenor Rick Perry. Not sure what that was about, but her decision to return to the Senate seems pretty safe. Prediction: Hutchison easily re-elected.

Jim Jeffords -- (Vermont)(I): Jeffords has decided to retire and the courage he exercised in 2001 will be sorely missed. It is too bad the regular Democrats don't have some of that spine. Bernie Sanders, the congressional independent looks like the heir apparent. Making him the first Socialist/Independent/Democrat to be a Senator. Prediction: Senator Sanders goes to Washington.

Edward (Ted) Kennedy --(Massachusetts)(D): Romney won't run against him and no one else could come close to the Democratic legend. This seat is Ted's until he decides its not.
Prediction: Kennedy wins...what else?

Herbert Kohl -- (Wisconsin)(D): Kohl is pretty safe but could have a problem if the popular Tommy Thompson would decide to run. Thompson never fit in as a cabinet "yes" man, but he still has a loyal following in Wisconsin. He is probably more interested in returning to the State House however... in which case, Kohl should win. Prediction: Kohl holds seat for Democrats.

Jon Kyl --(Arizona)(R): Kyl is more conservative than the other Senator from AZ, John McCain. He is fairly safe for now because no credible Democrat has emerged. Prediction: Kyl will win handily and keep the seat for Republicans.

Joe Lieberman --(Connecticut)(D): Is he a Democrat, Republican Lite, a Hawk, or a Dove? Does anyone really know for sure? JoeMentum does work in Connecticut though. Prediction: Lieberman wins handily holding seat for Democrats.

Trent Lott --(Mississippi)(R): Why is this guy still here? Because he is a white Senator from Mississippi. That means they are not "allowed" to lose. He'll probably play the Katrina tragedy to the hilt and make it sound like all that Federal money was coming right out of his office. Can't see a change here. Prediction: Lott will be back.

Richard Lugar --(Indiana)(R): Lugar is popular in this Red state and he even feels strong enough to question the Bush administration on foreign policy. Lugar will be in the Senate till he retires. Prediction: Easy Lugar win for Republicans.

Bill Nelson --(Florida)(D): Nelson has been on the Republican hit list for awhile. This seat could have turned except the Republicans in Florida are flocking to Katherine Harris as their candidate. Huh? Her picture appears under the definition of "partisan hack". Whatever possessed her to come out of hiding in her safe little country club Congressional seat to take on an incumbent in a statewide race???.. well, only her mascara manufacturer knows for sure. If Nelson is smart, he will run a high ground campaign and let this looney self destruct. Prediction: Nelson wins for Democrats.

Ben Nelson --(Nebraska)(D): Think of Nelson as the Lincoln Chaffee of the Democratic party. He will always appear vulnerable in such a Red state, but he always seems to keep his consitutents happy.... even though he drives his party nuts. Still, it is important to hold this seat and l believe he will. Prediction: Nelson holds his seat in a close race.

Rick Santorum --(Pennsylvania)(R): It looks like Santorum's days of pontificating on the sexual mores of America are about over. Bill Casey has already announced his intention to run as a Democrat and poll numbers for Casey are very strong. This looks like a big Democratic pick-up.
Prediction: We can welcome Senator Casey to the Senate chambers.

Paul Sarbanes --(Maryland)(D): Sarbanes is retiring. So, this is an open seat and has a very strong Republican to enter the fray. Lt.Governor Michael Steele has emerged as a very popular candidate and the Democrats are still trying to figure out a replacement. This is a very blue state but unless someone strong emerges in the next few months, this could be the only Democratic seat to turn over. Prediction: Look out for a squeaker of a Republican win.

Olympia Snowe-- (Maine)(R): This woman is too moderate to be a Republican in this day and age. It can only happen in Maine. She is popular in her home state and she will win easily. Prediction: Another term for Ms. Snowe.

Debbie Stabenow -- (Michigan)(D): This is another vulnerable Democrat. She barely ousted Spencer Abraham for her initial win and she has not been a stand out in the Senate. Abraham's wife has put out feelers to run against her and Jane Abraham is a strong candidate in her own right. This will be a tough one but if the year is blue, Stabenow still wins. Prediction: Stabenow holds on, barely.

Jim Talent -- (Missouri)(R): Early polling show Jim Talent very vulnerable. Democrat Claire McCaskill is running dead even already. Watch for big Republican money to enter this one, especially if other races start to sour. If McCaskill runs a solid campaign, this could turn.
Prediction: close win for the Democrat.

Craig Thomas -- (Wyoming)(R): Remember this is Wyoming... deep red, no emerging Democrat, incumbant Republican... no chance. Prediction: Big repeat win for Thomas.

Now if you are keeping track, I show 5 Democratic turnovers and 1 Republican change. If that Sarbanes seat could hold and that is certainly possible, then it would be a 50-50 Senate. But, you say, with Cheney holding the tie breaker, it is still Republican control. Well, here is the possible weird part... remember, Lincoln Chaffee (RI) owes the Republican caucus nothing... and if they run a primary opponent against him, hmmmmm --- well, my guess is, he could pull a Jeffords and we are back to that weird 51-49 Democratic limbo state. This is all still long shot material -- every Democratic seat would have to hold and although I think it is possible right now, it may be less likely as Republican candidates emerge that are stronger than expected.

Feel free to throw in your own comments.... you now have mine.

comments (1) permalink

More of This and That..

Category: US Politics
Posted: 09/30/05 20:05

by PDW58

So, Mayor Randy Kelly just wants us to forget about his little Bush "indiscretion".... sure it will be easy to ignore that hug you gave that walking piece of category 5 disaster.....Just cast a blind eye to that fact that while Democrats worked their tails off to keep Minnesota blue, you were out there collecting dirty Republican money. Sure, Randy, it should be easy to let bygones be bygone... Aw, the heck with it --- SIT ON IT, KELLY!

In case you were wondering, here are birth years of the Supreme Court Justices: Roberts (1955), Souter (1939), Ginsburg (1933), Thomas (1948), Breyer (1938), Scalia (1936), O'Connor (1930), Stevens (1920), and Kennedy (1936). It doesn't take a math genius to see that Ginsburg and Stevens are the next most likely to go -- and they are the most liberal members of the court. We need a real fight on the O'Connor replacement.

With Katherine Lanpher leaving the Al Franken show, it may be difficult to keep that show running smoothly. Lanpher hosted MPR's mid-morning show for several years before ending up with Franken. Al is great but he doesn't have any radio discipline -- Lanpher was great at making sure the commercials got in and they didn't stray off topic...too much. I hope they bring another experienced radio person to keep Al in check. Ed Schultz has been so successful because he KNOWS radio -- it is his career.

Keep the faith -- Stand Up Keep Fighting!

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