Candidate Q & A, part 4

Q & A with Christa

As people ask me questions about the BET and about my campaign, I will share some of the most interesting or common questions along with my answers. Previous Q & As: Part 1Part 2, Part 3

Q. What is the relationship between taxes and affordable housing?

A. As a BET candidate, the most salient response is to say there is a direct relationship between the property tax levy authorized by the BET and the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. The MPHA is one of the most direct means the City has to influence and contribute to the availability of affordable housing. The City is also in the best position to coordinate and direct affordable housing investments to maximize their effect. By doing so, the City can also achieve a multiplier effect—putting tax revenue to work creating and maintaining affordable housing stock through mechanisms like financing assistance and grants to organizations dedicated to addressing the need, such as community land trusts. By strategically identifying and addressing market failures that have contributed to the shortage, one dollar invested by the city can generate more affordable housing than that same dollar invested privately.

Arguably there is a connection between the property tax assessed to individual properties and that property’s affordability, but any effect is mitigated by several factors: (1) the more affordable a property is, the lower the assessed tax; (2) low-income residents are eligible for property tax rebates; and (3) by increasing the amount of housing that exists and subject to property tax—whether a new housing unit is affordable or not—the tax burden on everyone else is reduced, including people owning and renting in affordable properties.

Q. Do you support the Neighborhood Parks 20 year plan?

A. Yes. The Park Board describes the Neighborhood Parks 20 year plan as a City commitment to

  • Protect current levels of [Park Board] funding.
  • Dedicate an additional $11 million annually, through 2036, in NPP20 funds for increased maintenance, rehabilitation and capital investments in neighborhood parks.
  • Allocate NPP20 funds using a data-driven, criteria-based system to help address racial and economic equity. (MPRB)

This commitment is memorialized in City ordinance. Of the $11 million in dedicated funding, only $3 million is set to be raised through property taxes, the other $8 million are to be dedicated by the City from other funding sources. (NPP20 Fact Sheet).

Minneapolis’s park system is a cherished and valuable City resource, and it receives national acclaim and recognition (ParkScore), setting the City apart and making it an attractive place to live and work. I am not aware of a reason to oppose a responsible long-term plan established by the Minneapolis Park Board, and agreed to by the City, to address these important policy and capital-maintenance issues.