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Minnesota property taxes hold steady, Revenue Department says

Posted by: under Gov. Mark Dayton, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Republicans, State budgets Updated: February 28, 2014 - 5:25 PM

A new report by the Minnesota Department of Revenue shows that property taxes held steady this year, down about $8 million after all state property tax refunds.

“This drop in property taxes is good news for Minnesotans, who for years have been hammered by double-digit property tax increases," DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said. "Thanks to the relief provided by the DFL Legislature last year, property taxes are actually going down statewide, for the first time in 12 years."

The amount of savings is less than Dayton and Democratic legislators predicted last year, but Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans called it “great progress.”

Republicans had warned that Democrats' desire to lower property taxes by increasing aid to local governments wouldn’t work, arguing that cities and counties would merely bulk up their budgets without lowering local property taxes.

"Despite Democrats repeated promises to reduce property taxes, Minnesotans learned today they are facing the highest property tax levy in state history,” said Hanska Rep. Paul Torkelson, the Republican lead on the House Property and Local Tax Division Committee. “Governor Dayton and Democrats set the target and they missed. After Democrats took $2.4 billion in new taxes and fees this past session, hardworking taxpayers can't afford to pay more."

Revenue Department officials found that city, county and school levies went up about $125 million this year, but that was before $133 million in state property tax aids and credits were returned to taxpayers.

Since 2002, property taxes rose an average of $332 million each year, according to the Revenue Department.

Frans said the state has finally broken the cycle.

“Overall, the number is one we are pretty satisfied with,” he said.

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