Page 2 of 2 Previous
What’s more, while median property taxes generally increased from 2007 to 2011, they fell overall as a percentage of income.
It’s important to notice the tricks property tax claims can play without that kind of context. For example, median property taxes jumped 16.7 percent from 2007-11 in the Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota.
Sounds ghastly. But that was a jump from $816 to $952 a year.
All this said, property taxes really are complicated. They vary dramatically, and some homeowners do bear unreasonable burdens.
But the Voss data again call parts of the usual story we hear into question. It shows that metro area property taxes are significantly higher than those outstate, even compared with incomes. And while confirming a particular property tax problem in Minneapolis, it shows that the largest population of heavily burdened homeowners is found in metro suburbs (with property taxes above 5 percent of income). They are particularly easy to find in southwest suburbs like Eden Prairie and Plymouth.
It all suggests, Haveman agrees, that the state should stop scattering dollars far and wide, where they may be allowing some to avoid paying a reasonable price for the local services they demand. Instead, property tax rescue missions should be focused even more on targeted programs that do a better job of finding the actual taxpayers in duress.
D.J. Tice is at Doug.Tice@startribune.com.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.