Edina: Tax increase is Total Wine’s fault

There’s quite a spat in Edina over what’s behind a proposed 7 percent increase in the city’s tax levy, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.

In a mailing to city residents, Mayor James Hovland blamed the citizens’ choice of booze, or, specifically, where they bought it.

Edina is one of several Minnesota cities that runs its own liquor store and until the upstart Total Wine moved in, it made plenty of money doing so, the mayor said.

Our 2015 budget projected Edina Liquor revenues of about $1.8 million. Now in a completely different market than the one we were in when the budget was crafted, we are doing what we can to bring in half that amount.

Edina Liquor is still very much a profitable business and one that we are proud to operate. However, we can no longer count on beer, wine and liquor sales to support the City budget in the way it did before the market changed. Without the expected transfer of Edina Liquor profits, we must raise municipal property taxes by about 7 percent to keep City services at the current level next year.

The mayor said the city can be proud of the fact that Edina has the lowest taxes on a $400,000 home of any comparable community.

Total Wine says sales were dropping at the municipal liquor store before the discount chain opened at France Ave., and Interstate 494 last November.

“When the city of Edina blames Total Wine & More for falling profits at its municipal liquor stores, the city is really blaming Edina residents and other consumers who are not spending enough money at its government-owned stores to meet the city’s profit projections,” Total Wine Vice President of Public Affairs Ed Cooper told the business journal.