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Minneapolis approves $1.6 billion budget, including big property tax hike

St. Paul also passed its budget on Wednesday.

The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul passed their budgets on Wednesday, with policing proving to be a talking point in both spending plans.

Minneapolis City Council passed a $1.6 billion budget that will be partially funded by the largest property tax increase in a decade, with the average tax increasing by 6.95 percent, although a study has shown it would most adversely effect poorer areas of the city.

The hike is expected to bring median property taxes to $1,510 in Minneapolis, a $110 increase, per the Star Tribune.

The budget includes a $31 million investment in affordable housing backed by Mayor Jacob Frey, as well as $6.3 million in new spending on economic inclusion programs he has also championed, including $2.7 million for a commercial property development fund aimed at business owners of color.

It also includes funding for Minneapolis Police Department to add an extra class of recruits in 2020, adding to the two already budgeted for, which could add anywhere up to 38 new recruits.

The move was a compromise from the city council, which had earlier this week added the new class of cadets to the budget in lieu of Frey's $2.4 million proposal to add 14 more sworn officers.

The plans to add officers have been opposed particularly by communities of color who fear it would disproportionately impact them. At the council hearing on Wednesday, there were several who spoke out against adding extra police.

You can read more about the Minneapolis budget here.

Meanwhile in St. Paul, which passed its own $636 million budget with a 5.85 percent property tax increase, the city council was dealing with the opposite problem.

Mayor Melvin Carter has opposed adding extra police officers in a year in which St. Paul has seen a significant spike in homicides, instead proposing to invest $1.5 million in community-based efforts to reduce crime.

But some members of the council objected to the lack of investment in additional officers, with three councilors, Jane Prince, Dai Thao, and the outgoing Kassim Busuri, voting against the budget.

Per MPR, Prince said the budget doesn't account for the loss of officers through attrition and retirement, and was not keen on the mayor's suggestions for reducing violent crime.

Ultimately though, the budget just passed by a vote of 4-3.

You can read more about St. Paul's budget here.

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