Are Bloomington Franchise Fees Actually a Tax?
The City of St Paul lost a District court case in May involving how they fund pavement management. The “fees” are actually “taxes”, and so can not be imposed on nonprofits or churches. And the city must use taxation processes to implement and collect them. As local taxes, those could be deductible for residents who itemize on their federal form.
In a similar previous case around ROW (Right of Way) maintenance fees, in 2016 the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a ruling that forced St. Paul to overhaul the way it funds street upkeep.
Since then, St. Paul has been assessing different SMSP (Street Maintenance Service Program) fees for a narrower set of pavement management services to all properties in St. Paul, including those of churches and other nonprofits. They also had to increase property taxes 20% to cover the costs of the remaining services that had been funded by the ROW fees. The church involved in the ROW case and a homeowner both disputed, asking for a court ruling that such “SMSP fees” are actually taxes.
The Center of the American Experiment explains more why this is an important distinction in their article HERE.
The Ramsey County court decision at this link found that such fees are actually taxes.
It may require a specific court case initiated by Bloomington nonprofits and homeowners to gain a similar decision regarding the “Franchise Fees” that are added to utility bills. Those fees pour about $6 million into the city’s funding each year. Although those fees were initially publicized as intended to cover “trail maintenance” (paved pathways in parks and beside roads) in Bloomington, they have actually been used almost entirely for street repairs. Only 3-4 miles of trails have been handled yearly. A description of those fees and planned increases is at the Bloomington “let’s talk” site here. Note that the survey associated with that “let’s talk” article asks only about two “trail maintenance” options, once again implying that’s how the fees are used.
Our previous Newsletter article noted the 23% increase for Bloomington Franchise Fees that took effect in January 2022.
3rd Congressional District Website Listing Upcoming Events
Congressional District 3 wants to be the go-to resource for events in the western half of the Minneapolis metropolitan area. Bookmark 3rd Congressional District Republicans - Events (cd3mngop.com) just as you hopefully have saved the Senate District 50 Events page (SD 50 EVENTS - SD 50 GOP).
If you have an event in or near CD3, please send the information to 3rd Congressional District Republicans by emailing [email protected] as well by emailing [email protected].
Early Voting Open for Primary Election Contests
It is hard to believe, but you can already vote for some of our Republican candidates. These candidates face challengers, and they must come in first or second in the Primary election to be on the November ballot. While the Primary election in Minnesota is set for August 9, you can go now to your city hall during business hours and vote “early”.
Your participation in the Primary election is critical to ensure that the following Republican-endorsed state-wide candidates are on the November ballot:
MN Governor and Lt Gov. candidates Scott Jensen and Matt Birk
MN Attorney General candidate Jim Schultz
MN Secretary of State candidate Kim Crockett
If you live in one of the following Congressional Districts, please vote in the Primary election for the following Republican-endorsed Congressional candidates:
4th Congression District candidate May Lor Xiong
5th Congressional District candidate Cicely Davis
7th Congressional District candidate Michelle Fischbach
8th Congressional District candidate Pete Stauber
If you live in Hennepin County, we recommend that you vote in the Primary election for the following conservative candidates:
Hennepin County Attorney Tad Jude
Hennepin County Sheriff Jai Hanson
If you want good candidates on the ballot in November, tell your friends to vote for these people in the Primary election that is open now.
Tad Jude: Make Crime Illegal Again
Tad Jude pivoted from seeking the Republican endorsement for Attorney General to running for Hennepin County Attorney as a Republican. His campaign theme is ‘make crime illegal again’. Jude’s campaign website is judeforhennepin.com
Current Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, a Democrat, is not seeking re-election.
When Jude addressed a crowd of supporters at a fundraiser, he emphasized the wealth of experience he has over his opponents, and the failure of the County Attorney’s office to actually prosecute crime – hence his campaign theme. Jude pointed to Hennepin County’s failure to prosecute crimes and apparent desire to release violent criminals back to the streets almost immediately after they were charged as a symptom of the "rot" in the County Attorney’s office.
Alpha News recently did a ride-along with Minneapolis Police. During the ride-along Sergeant Schroeder was called to arrest a man who has been on the run for months after failing to show up for prison following his nine-year sentence for a previous shooting. After the successful arrest, the Sergeant was asked how many similar fugitives he thought were loose in Minneapolis. He answered, “Hundreds.” (Video , at 4:25). The next stop involved a car with three young men in it. One had been arrested the day before for a shooting and was already out on bail; another was out on bail pending his trial for murder. The Sergeant said that “People [criminals] know that if you get caught [committing a crime] with a gun in Anoka County, you are in way more trouble than if you get caught in Hennepin county.” The Sergeant told the Alpha News reporter that one young man shot two innocent bystanders at a corner the police car was passing; he had nine felonies, and was out on bond (same URL, 6:00).
That’s what Tad Jude means by ‘making crime illegal again’ – he wants to keep accused violent criminals in jail until they are tried and found guilty or innocent.
The Hennepin County Attorney race is crowded – besides Jude, DFL-endorsed Ryan Winkler (the current Minnesota House Majority Leader), Mary Moriarty (former Hennepin County chief public defender) and four others are on the August 9 Primary ballot. Jude says he is the only Republican running.Read more
Yard Sign Time - Now Through Nov. 18
It's OK now to put up ALL the candidate yard signs – no limits. And leave them until shortly after the November election, although you'll probably rotate them as you mow now and rake leaves this fall. Some state-wide candidates have signs available now, most other candidates, including our MN House / MN Senate candidates, will have signs available in August.
Per the MN Secretary of State website, state law regarding political campaign signs overrides local sign ordinances. Local laws that otherwise limit the number of signs or how long they may be up cannot be enforced for a designated time during even-numbered years.
The City of Edina regulates campaign sign placement and quantity, however those regulations are suspended now, for a portion of 2022. This illustration of valid sign placement locations is still a good reminder of state-level and safety requirements.
Minneapolis Must Hire Police, Says MN Supreme Court
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered Minneapolis to have total of 731 sworn officers on the police force. An article at Bring Me the News touches on some of the case background and the arguments, while noting that Minneapolis is more than 100 officers short.
The Supreme Court decided the Mayor of Minneapolis has a clear legal duty under the Minneapolis city charter to hire; that the mayor has failed to do so; and ordered the District Court to direct the Mayor to hire the officers or, in the alternative, explain why and provide a date by which time they will be hired.
The Court also noted that the Minneapolis City Council had met its charter duty of funding these positions.
Lawsuit background and decision details
The Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) brought suit in August 2020 on behalf of eight north Minneapolis residents who petitioned the court to mandate that the city of Minneapolis fulfill its legal obligation under its charter to hire .0017 police officers per resident of Minneapolis.
You can read the UMLC article about this case on their website, under the heading "Spann, et al. v. Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey".Read more