Minnesotans can expect their property taxes to go up an average of 2.3 percent next year if proposed levy increases are approved, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
Revenue officials arrived at the estimate by researching maximum levy amounts proposed across the state, which local governments are wrestling with now. The hikes could bring in an additional $187 million next year for schools, cities and counties.
On the whole, cities are asking for the largest average increase, about 3.1 percent. Counties want a 1.7 percent bump and schools are seeking a 2.1 percent hike.
Voters in 60 Minnesota school districts were asked for more education funding or to renew existing levies set to expire. Of the 60, voters in 43 approved at least part of the proposed levy increases.
The uptick in property taxes is likely to be a central issue at the Capitol during the upcoming legislative session. Revenue and budget officials are concerned the state has too much reliance on property taxes and not enough on sales and income taxes.
Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans has met with thousands of Minnesotans over the last year to discuss the tax system. He said soaring property taxes are an overwhelming concern he heard in every corner of the state.
Democrats contend that years of GOP budget reductions to cash-strapped local governments have forced officials to ratchet up property taxes to make up for lost state aid. Republicans say that local governments should be looking at efficiencies rather than immediately turning to local taxpayers.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s staff is preparing a new budget and tax proposal and they are discussing measures aimed at driving down property taxes.