Political Gimmicks and Agency Reports
The official Department of Revenue report (Click here for Full Report) shows property taxes in Minnesota are INCREASING …
+ 1.2% for counties
+ 1.6% for cities
+ 2.0% for towns
+ 1.7% for counties
+ 1.2% for special districts
In fact, 2014 is poised to report the highest property tax levy in Minnesota history, rising $125 million or 1.5% in total statewide. (Click here for the 2013 vs 2014 comparison report from the non-partisan Senate Research staff)
Only 1 out of 7 cities, counties and townships lowered property taxes, and almost half of all school districts raised property taxes.
- 74 out of 87 counties either raised property taxes or kept them flat (85%).
- 731 out of 853 cities either raised property taxes or kept them flat (86%).
- 1646 out of 1911 townships either raised property taxes or kept them flat (86%).
- 151 out of 331 school districts either raised property taxes or kept them flat (46%).
Democrats created some slick messaging and reporting to convince the public of their property tax “reduction”.
1. They refer to property tax reductions for certain types of properties only, while forgetting to mention that 8 out of 12 property types increased. (Click here for the 2013 vs 2014 comparison report from the non-partisan Senate Research staff)
3. They requested a “Simulation Report” from the Department of Revenue to show property taxes collected by local governments minus the estimated state credits that are projected to be claimed. In the arcane world of state agency reporting, the distinction of a “Simulation Report” is important. Rather than relying on the actual reported property tax levies from local governments in the traditional state agency report formats included above, Democrats needed a one-off simulated scenario relying on projections of state credits to create a scenario they could present to the public to show a “reduction” in property taxes. And they included in the state credits an offset of the estimated renters credit, which does not go the actual property tax payer.
Gov. Dayton and the Democrats made a promise they could not keep.
They passed significant funding increases to local governments in their budget last year, promising it would lower taxes. Then they doubled down in a July 30, 2013 press conference where they promised property taxes would go down $121 million. And even using their own “new” math by simulating projected estimates of state credits, they were $113 million off of their July promise. And all that after spending $292 million on local governments to achieve it.
In contrast, the Republican budget produced a better result for property taxpayers in 2013. Despite DFL attempts to buy down property taxes in 2014, the statewide property tax levy actually increased $4 million more than under the Republican’s budget in 2013.
Republicans know that property taxes are controlled at the local level by city councils, county commissioners and school boards. Controlling local government spending and making sure that those local spending decisions are transparent to taxpayers is the solution.