Margaret Anderson Kelliher Monday will ante up a property tax break for Minnesotans older than 65 in her bid for senior votes in next month's DFL primary.

The gubernatorial candidate's proposal, which would apply only if the property tax rate exceeds the rate of inflation, is a direct shot at DFL rival Mark Dayton. Dayton ran and won a  2000 campaign for U.S. Senate previous in part by attracting reliably voting seniors.

This year is no different. Dayton has run television ads featuring seniors and last month unveiled a plan to fund local governments and provide "income-targeted property tax relief." But he has also proposed raising income taxes on couples earning more than $150,000 a year, property taxes on million-dollar homes and taxes on "snowbird," who live outside of Minnesota a little more than half the year.

Kelliher Monday is expected to say it is "unreasonable and irresponsible" to hit Minnesota seniors with a new round of tax increases.

The dispute over taxes is a sign of the heat now generated by the right August 10 DFL gubernatorial primary.

According to polls, Kelliher and Dayton are front runners in the race with DFLer Matt Entenza running a close third.

With low expected turnout, seniors may make up the majority of voters who go to the polls in the hot summer contest.

Kelliher isn't alone in offering voters targeted tax breaks. Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer has suggested restaurant servers and retired veterans should get an income tax break.

Minnesota already allows low-income seniors facing unaffordable property taxes to defer paying the increases through a loan from the state.

In 2008, Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty successfully wrangled a property tax cap out of the DFL-controlled Legislature. Some local government organizations resisted the cap, saying it tied their hands at a time of decreased aid from the state.


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