Is this the Duluth you want?

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Duluth, MN – Duluth BizPac has come out firmly against Mayor Larson’s tax increases and staff recommendations included in her recently proposed 2019 city budget. The PAC is also requesting feedback from Duluthians with regard to the city budget proposed by Larson.  “Mayor Larson is recommending a 4% increase in property taxes. This recommendation, along with additional recommendations that increase City of Duluth staff, seems to be nothing more than an assault on small business owners and the vast majority of Duluth citizens” said Rob Stenberg, Duluth BizPac Chairperson.

The group went on to say that the Mayor is proposing a 4% property tax increase which hurts all Duluthians, especially the middle class and seniors. As most people know the payment of property taxes must be made without regard to the property owner’s current financial condition. Why is the first recommendation always a property tax increase? If the city is willing to listen to our citizens they will find that this isn’t acceptable, or even the best way to relieve the stress on the city’s ailing budget. There are other solutions, our neighbors across the bridge in Superior are proving it by looking at a property tax decrease! And yet, once again the city is placing the burden on those who work and live here. This city government is discouraging business and growth and passing the cost on to those most vested in the community, homeowners and especially our seniors.

Earlier this year the Duluth City Council passed an ordinance concerning Earned Safe and Sick Time (ESST). This is an ordinance that passed forcing businesses in the City of Duluth, with more than five employees, to provide vacation and sick time to those employees. Approximately 90% of Duluth businesses were already providing these types of benefits to their employees. Why impose the additional burden of reporting and information gathering to the City when this was not a request from citizens, but a request from special interest groups?

In the 2019 proposed budget by Mayor Emily Larson, she listed the proposed need for a staff person to engage in outreach and education activities for this new policy. It will also require additional outreach funding. This was proposed under the heading of “economic development. ”First of all, the passage of this ordinance was not for “economic development.” If anything, this ordinance has been anti-economic development as there are stories of developers not investing in the City of Duluth due to this ordinance. Why not rescind this ordinance and put the savings of a full-time staff person and the additional outreach investment toward a budget that does not include a property tax increase? The funding for additional staff and outreach should have been considered before this ordinance was passed.

Duluth BizPac asks the question; Is this the Duluth you want? If you would like to respond, please email: duluthbizpac@gmail.com

Duluth BizPac is a political action committee focused on changing  Duluth to be a positive place to live and work, creating a vibrant business climate today and growth for the future.