Proposed Bill in Minnesota Could Help Farmers’ Property Taxes

In a panel discussion held Friday Minnesota representatives met with local farmers to hear concerns and go over a proposed property tax credit

Minnesota farmers have been dealing with rising property taxes over the past ten years.

Now, a proposed bill could help alleviate some of those costs.

Property taxes for Minnesota farmers have increased by 114% in the last 10 years.

Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith said a combination of rising property values, demand for school improvements and lowered commodity prices have come together to create a demand for change.

“It all kind of comes together in this perfect storm and I think that this property tax credit can help alleviate some of the effects of that,” said Lt. Governor Smith.

The credit covers 40% of property taxes paid by farmers for local education funding.

The money would be covered by the state taking some of the burden off the farmers.

Even some in the education system recognize the need for this bill.

“There is a disproportionate percentage that goes to the Ag classification and I mean we’re dealing with a system set up back in the 1800’s,” said DGF Superintendent Bryan Thygeson.

Even if this bill passes, farmers said they’re still going to be cautiously optimistic.

They know the vast majority of Minnesota’s population lives in urban areas and they want to make sure they’re not forgotten.

David Kragnes represented farmers on the panel held at DGF High School in Glyndon.

He gives some perspective on the disproportionate property taxes farmers are faced with.

“Well, I just talked with a county commissioner that owns a business in town. That business pays about $4,000 a year in property tax. That $4,000 equates to about 90 acres of farm dirt. I farm 1,350 acres,” said Kragnes.

He said that equates to $50,000 a year in property taxes for his business that employs less than the one that pays on $4,000.

He wants people to know that even with this 40% credit, farmers will still be paying more than they’d like.

State Representative Ben Lien agrees.

“This 40% credit I think is a good first step. It’s not the final solution and my hope is that we can impress upon people in St. Paul that this isn’t over,” said Lien.

It’s representatives like Lien that encourage Kragnes and other farmers that they may have a chance at winning this fight in the long run.

“The ability to have folks that are helping us and having that dialogue down there gives me hope,” said Kragnes.

Lien said he sees encouraging bipartisan support on the issue and believes the bill has a good chance of passing this year.

Lien told KVRR in a previous interview he hopes the tax bill will be passed within the first month of the 2017 session.

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