Minneapolis officials want burnt out businesses to pay taxes before rebuilding

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On Memorial Day weekend, businesses were destroyed by rioters who city and state officials failed to stop from smashing windows, looting, and burning stores to the ground. The same officials promised to help them, but they are doing the opposite.

Cash-poor Minneapolis, Minnesota, is reportedly demanding that destroyed businesses, even businesses burned to the ground, pay their property taxes before being allowed to rebuild.

THEY CAN’T EVEN REMOVE THE DEBRIS TO REBUILD

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Minneapolis city government is not issuing permits to remove ashes and debris leftover from arson attacks until business owners pay their 2020 taxes in full.

“In Minneapolis, on a desolate lot where Don Blyly’s bookstore stood before being destroyed in the May riots, two men finish their cigarettes and then walk through a dangerous landscape filled with slippery debris and sharp objects,” the Star-Tribune said Wednesday. “The city won’t let Blyly haul away his wreckage without a permit, and he can’t get a contractor to tell him how much it will cost to rebuild the store until that happens.”

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, in a previous report, noted that 1,500 businesses were damaged and 150 were burned to the ground.

Minneapolis officials say they’re bound by a law that “prohibits the removal of any structures or standing timber until all of the taxes assessed against the building have been fully paid,” but Hennepin county, which enforces that law, says they’ve suspended enforcement of that law for “riot-damaged properties.”

“We don’t feel like we have an ability to block these permits, and I don’t see why we would,” one of the managers of Hennepin’s property tax division told the Star-Tribune. “One of our missions in the county is to reduce disparities, and if we took action to block these permits, that would arguably be creating more disparities instead of reducing disparities.”

Business owners want to know how they are expected “to come up with taxes when they have to pay ‘$35,000 to $100,000 to clear their sites of debris, with larger tracts — such as strip shopping centers — costing as much as $400,000, according to property owners,” the Star-Tribune reports. “That doesn’t include the money those owners must pay to get their permits. On average, the owners of properties destroyed or significantly damaged owe $25,000 in taxes for the second half of 2020, which come due in October.”

What gall. At the same time, these same officials are defunding the police and crime is on the rise.


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