I am a 19-year resident of Savage living in the community of Chadwick Park. I am writing this opinion because of the proposed 13 percent increase in my property taxes and the 35.8 percent decrease in my Homestead Exclusion, all of which has been presented without an explanation or description of need or purpose.
Throughout my 19 years of residence in Savage, and to the best of my recollection, I cannot remember having double-digit tax increases such as this.
I believe few citizens of Scott County remember that a Republican-controlled state legislature in 2011 repealed the Homestead Market Value Credit and replaced it with a new Homestead Market Value Exclusion. The details of this change are complex and difficult for the average homeowner to understand.
An important consequence of this change, however, is that the amount of the Homestead Market Value Exclusion decreases as the value of property increases. Therefore, all local government needs to do to increase tax dollars is increase the estimated market value of a property. So easy, isn’t it?
I find the message of these changes to seniors is that they should move out of Scott County. Consider the impact if these double-digit increases should form a pattern for the future. People living on Social Security will be receiving an increase of 2.8 percent in their benefit for 2019. At a similar rate for the future, seniors will not be able to afford to remain in Scott County.
The entities being served by property tax dollars need to learn to live with less or move at a slower pace. This proposal for 2019 is very much an abuse of power. It seems to be a group of politicians and senior beneficiaries gathered together to discuss self-serving objectives and arbitrarily raising property values to produce tax increases.
Consider all of the new construction taking place throughout the county. My estimated taxable market value for 2019 increased 19.7 percent. I cannot remember a year in the last 19 years where my increase in taxable market value even approached 19.7 percent. Do you think my proposed property taxes for 2019 would be 13 percent higher than 2018 without a sizeable increase in the taxable market value of my home?
Now is the time to reconsider this proposal and reduce the tax increases to a more reasonable and tolerable, sustainable level. Voters will remember 2019 and act appropriately at the next election. I encourage every resident to make his or her opinion known to local government.