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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Dave Hafner Praises 2007 Double-Digit Tax Increase

Can the team of Dave Hafner, DelRay Rokke, and Ken Smart be trusted to responsibly steward the city's finances, or even to discuss them honestly? Setting aside their apparent difficulties with their own campaign finance reports, let's consider Dave Hafner's past public statements.

Despite his recent claim to have been unhappy with Maplewood elected officials for the past 18 years, Hafner was full of praise for the team of Longrie, Cave and Hjelle in 2007. In fact, he came forward in visitor presentations on March 26, 2007, to compliment that council majority for, among other things, raising his taxes. (As you may recall, the 2007 city levy increase was one of the largest in recent history.)

The 2007 levy had a 10.2% increase, passed by Diana Longrie, Rebecca Cave, and Erik Hjelle. For Mr. Hafner personally, this meant an increase of 3.57% for his home's city taxes ($24.39 -- more than his $22 total increase), according to Ramsey County property tax records that are publicly available online. In comparison, the previous year -- under a budget passed by the "old regime" that Hafner reviled -- his city tax bill had increased just 1.41%.

Looking at his comments and the facts, it appears that Mr. Hafner's tax policy views are determined by whether or not he likes the people proposing a tax increase, not how big it is or whether it is necessary in the balance between taxes collected and services provided to our residents.

As a caveat, I should note that the above really can only be ascribed to Mr. Hafner, not to his running mates Rokke and Smart. It's possible that they did not vet him very well, or familiarize themselves with his past statements and positions, before signing on to run a joint campaign with him.

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