On his DNT blog, Buzz Duluth, Brandon Stahl interviewed St. Scholastica Econ Professor Tony Barrett about the city council’s frequent talk regarding “expanding the tax base,” and what that actually means. In the post, Barrett explains that the only direct way that the council can expand the tax base is to attract new business “through subsidies or TIFs,” or through zoning changes, or “to eliminate steps” involved with business development.
Barrett then goes on to explain that Duluthians are often resistant to this kind of growth.
“Every community has certain groups that oppose growth; environmentalists who don’t want to see trees cut down, or less green space… people who fear that growth is going to require higher taxes,” he said. “Duluth has a strong element of people who just don’t want Duluth to change. They like it the way it is. That’s why they didn’t move away to the Twin Cities, maybe get a better job. Duluth, of all the communities I’ve lived in, has the strongest anti-growth sentiment. And I think it’s really our culture of people liking Duluth just the way it is.”
The comments, of course, blame the DFL and “environmentalists.” But in light of the recent Honking House fiasco, the Lakewalk townhomes, and the debate over the reorganization of Duluth’s schools, it seems that the conflict in opinions is far more complex than some would like to admit.
So what do you think?
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