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Letter: Legislature needs to solve DNR delinquent ditch taxes

Are DNR Senate Committee members aware of the delinquency on the county ditch taxes? They date back to 1993. I want to bring this quote to their attention:...

Are DNR Senate Committee members aware of the delinquency on the county ditch taxes? They date back to 1993. I want to bring this quote to their attention:

"The Minnesota Constitution provides that up to 5.5 percent of the market value of the Trust Fund can be utilized for projects each year. The Legislature appropriated $30.1 million from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund for 39 projects for the 2003-05 bienniums."

Shouldn't it have been $55 million spent over this three-year period and still stayed within the 5.5 percent per year? If this is correct, there should still be $25 million that wasn't spent? What amount of money was appropriated for the 2006 projects?

We are now in to 2007 and the Trust Fund is over $400 million; 5.5 percent of $400 million would equal $22 million to be utilized for projects this year. Let's make delinquent taxes a utilized project for the coming appropriations.

This should be the reasonability of the DNR Senate committees to appropriate money from the Trust Fund and get these taxes paid in full.

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These three counties have reported ditch taxes due from the DNR on their Con-Con land.

-- Beltrami County delinquent ditch tax, penalty, interest and fees; to date -- $2,001,927.84

-- Marshall County delinquent ditch tax, penalty, interest and fees; to date -- $379,000.00

-- Roseau County delinquent ditch tax, penalty, interest and fees; to date -- $826,349.42

Jim Jenson

Badger, Minn.

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