The lawmakers say farmers can pay 10 times as much as city residents when schools, cities and counties charge for new projects because farmers own more land. Their bill would only tax a farmer for his or her house, garage and one acre of land in those situations.

Rural issues are playing a bigger role at the Legislature after Republicans picked up several House seats in outstate Minnesota last year. But the proposal could alienate urban lawmakers.

"Anybody who thinks that any sort of property owner should not have to contribute to paying for school funding ... is going to have to tell us who is going to pick up the difference," said Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington.

"You're just shifting that tax increase onto the homeowners in the same area."

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, acknowledged at a news conference Thursday that his proposal would likely lead to higher taxes for city residents. But that would be fairer than the current system, he said.