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Small business owners applaud governor for property tax cap

The representative association for Minnesota's small business owners applauded Gov. Tim Pawlenty for his leadership in winning a cap on property taxes and for his resistance to raising costs on the entrepreneurs of the state who employ the majority of working Minnesotans and generate almost all new jobs.

"We really want to thank Governor Pawlenty for standing up for small businesses and all other property tax payers," Mike Hickey, Minnesota state director for the National Federation of Independent Business said.

The provision, which passed in the tax bill capping local government spending at

3.9 percent a year, was supported by Pawlenty and NFIB.

"Without his strong advocacy for this critical provision, it never would have occurred," Hickey said.

Hickey noted that the Legislature has tried just about every other type of levy limit over the years, including one tied to the 2001 property tax reform that allowed for huge increases by some cities.

The provision does allow some exceptions, including hiring more police and fire personnel. It also allows a higher level of spending due to financial problems caused by a significant number of mortgage foreclosures.

Most cities that want to raise taxes higher than 3.9 percent per year will now need to submit the proposed tax increase to the voters in a referendum.

The new property tax cap is projected to save taxpayers $78.5 million next year and $460.5 million for the three-year period it will be in effect.

The cap will expire after 2011.

Hickey also thanked Pawlenty for opposing an increase in the minimum wage.

"Thanks to Governor Pawlenty's opposition, none of these proposals passed," Hickey said. "The Governor stood very tall for small businesses, and we really appreciate his efforts in helping defeat these proposals that would worsen the Minnesota business climate."