Cutting taxes for businesses at the expense of students is unfair

An unfortunate consequence of the budget deal reached last July was the elimination of the Homestead Credit. Elimination of this credit meant sky-rocketing property taxes for 95 percent of homeowners in Minnesota.

As Minnesotans began receiving their truth-in-taxation statements, outlining their property taxes owed for the upcoming year, it became clear to most that owning their home or small business was about to become increasingly more costly.

Now they’re after renters.

Republican majorities are pressing forward with legislation this session that would eliminate the commercial-industrial business property tax while providing little relief for homeowners. Most of the funding for this business tax cut would come from a $70 million cut to the renters’ credit.

As a result, 99 percent of renters in Hennepin County would see a reduction or even elimination in their renters’ credit while businesses like Wal-Mart would see their property taxes phased out.

Representing such a vibrant part of Minneapolis, home to our University of Minnesota, I have serious reservations about cutting yet another program that helps Minnesotans on fixed incomes.

Enacting this legislation would surely have a detrimental impact on students already facing looming student debt repayment.

Funding for our colleges and universities has been somewhat of a budgetary punching bag in recent years with severe cuts to higher education. This last session resulted in the largest cut to higher education in the history of the state of Minnesota, asking our brightest to carry the state’s heavy financial burden. Budgetary cuts to the University and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities systems mean that students have had to pay more for less.

Despite the sting left by the extreme budgetary cuts to higher education, Republicans are now proposing that we ask our students to make more sacrifices in the name of job creation. Eliminating taxes for businesses does not create jobs or strengthen our workforce, investing in our students does.