A Day Didn't Make a Difference. I've always been told, "What a difference a day makes" and that adage is usually true for me, but I have to admit--and I know I am speaking for a lot of SEE members as well--I am still disappointed by the lack of true property tax reform in the Governor's budget, either in the education recommendations or the property tax recommendations. It's still extremely early in the process, but it would have been good to have at least some measure of recognition of the work done by the Education Finance Reform Working Group and the work done by the Minnesota Department of Revenue the past two years. There is a lot of money proposed to be on the table through the income tax increase for high income earners and the broadening of the sales tax base and while the centerpiece of the property tax initiatives is the rebate program, there may be an opportunity to divert some of the revenue (provided the tax increases are passed and the revenue for property tax relief programs is generated) toward equalization programs.
There will be bills introduced that will increase the equalization factors to account for the value of the formulas lost to growth in property wealth, perhaps as early as tomorrow. I will keep you posted on the progress of these initiatives.
First SEE Parent Group Hits the Capitol. Deb Griffiths brought the first set of SEE district parents in to lobby their legislators today. The group hailed from the area just to the northeast of the metropolitan area, with parents from Forest Lake, Cambridge-Isanti, Rush City, and North Branch. I was glad to meet with the group an I want to personally thank them for their efforts. It's quite a sacrifice to take a day off work and trudge down to the Capitol to meet with legislators. It can be daunting enough for long-time veterans like myself to meet with legislators, so I can understand any trepidation participants may have, but I appreciate these efforts and they will be key if we are to meet with success during the 2013 legislative session.