Property tax burden on business

To the editor:

Design Home Center is a local business that relies on support from our community, and we do our best to keep our dollars locally. This means purchasing everything from office supplies to appliances in town. We partner with local suppliers, contractors and builders. We pride ourselves on a great history of customer service and going the extra mile. Whether it’s a simple as business lobby that needs new carpet or a home built from scratch, our customers are at the heart and soul of our survival.

Like many business in Minnesota, we rely on a strong economy to flourish and grow. In our years in business, we have navigated many challenges, yet continue to stick to our roots as a locally owned and operated business. A large majority of our products come from other Minnesota companies such as Bayer Built (Belgrade), Marvin Windows (Warroad), MDI (Marshall) and Manion’s (St. Cloud). Efforts are made daily to conduct business within our state, and these commitments do carry the greatest benefits.

Rural Minnesota businesses pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. In 2017, our property will pay over $26,000 in property taxes. This puts our tax rates at the second highest in the highest in the nation. With rates higher than Massachusetts, New Jersey and California, it is outrageous that a company with just over a dozen full time employees is paying such excessive property taxes. Steps can easily be taken by our legislators and other elected officials to reduce financial impacts like these to the communities they represent.

When I learned of a recently projected $1.65 billion dollar surplus to our budget, I was reminded of what Design Home Center will be paying in property taxes and thought about the impact those dollars could have for our business and business like ours if we kept them here. Sourcing new talent, and increased opportunity to grow our business and add new staff are a few things that immediately come to mind. We employ 16 full-time and several part-time employees that are proud to live, work and spend their monies locally to support our community.

I’m glad to see our State economy is on the right track. However, a surplus of this caliber is a clear indication our residents and business owners are paying too much and receiving too little. Unlike homeowners, these extra taxes are funneled into the state’s general fund, where there’s even less of a chance these dollars will make their way back into our communities. News like this can be discouraging to young entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business in rural and suburban communities.

Each year these taxes are adjusted for inflation and are on an automatic increase. Let’s urge our legislators to put the brakes on the automatic inflation and reduce the current property tax levies. As a business owner in New Ulm, the money I don’t have to send to St. Paul stays in our community.

Brian Fischer

President and CEO

Design Home Center

New Ulm

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