Minnesota Too Nice

Stay at a hotel in Manhattan, and various local taxes and surcharges will add more than 50% to your bill.

The same phenomenon applies to car rentals, restaurants, and alcohol sales:  namely, local tax authorities — especially in high-demand destinations frequented by tourists — disproportionately soak outsiders to fund their budgets.

So, how much of a premium does the city of Minneapolis charge non-city residents who enroll in the city’s excellent summer education programs?

Try, nothing.

That’s even though neighboring cities charge Minneapolis residents a surcharge to enroll in their programs (I know, I’ve paid them).

Call it “subsidizing thy neighbor” — the opposite of “beggaring thy neighbor.”

Fair’s Fair

Such a stance is wrong on two counts: 

One.  Minneapolis residents already pay nosebleed-level property taxes to support an array of local services.  Outsiders who pay the same (usage) freight as city residents in essence are free-riding.  

Two.  Fair’s fair. If other cities charge Minneapolis residents a surcharge, basic fairness dictates that Minneapolis collect a surcharge from non-residents.

While 2011 is (very) young, no doubt Minneapolis taxpayers will hear soon enough about yawning city deficits, squeezed budgets, and so on.

But before Minneapolis asks its residents to dig ever deeper into their pockets, though, it should try collecting its fair share from non-residents.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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