Friday, February 20, 2009

Property tax in the Omnibus Bill

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes. And being such, it has more than enough land that has been used for seasonal recreational property. Many people own cabins, both residents of this state and nonresidents. For those counties with struggling populations, property tax is the most secure way to collect money and ensure services. If they were not able to collect property tax on seasonal recreational property, they would fail miserably.

In the 85th Session (2007-2008), Representative Erhardt (R-Edina) introduced a bill that provided a property tax refund on seasonal recreational property. Although this would not entirely eliminate the property taxes paid on seasonal rec., House File 2348 does allow for a tax refund or credit. This credit would allow one claim to be filed for each seasonal recreational property and would payable of $1,750.

This bill did not make it into the larger Tax Omnibus bill (HF 3149) introduced by Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington). Many of the bills that went into the larger bill included measures to comply with the “Truth in Taxation”, which was enacted to enhance public participation. In doing so, citizens are provided the opportunity to give input through public advertisements, public hearings, and notices of changes sent to property owners.

Representative Marquart (DFL-Dilworth) was able to get HF 3645 included in the Omnibus Tax Bill which allowed for proposed levy certification modified for purposes of truth in taxation. These levy certifications would be open for public consumption prior to their imposition. I think the reason this bill was included in the Omnibus bill was because of its popularity with the voters. Everyone wants feel like they can make a difference and I think it’s even more empowering when you can make a difference in what you pay. Albeit a seasonal recreational property refund is popular, it does not affect the entire populous, only those who have a property aside from their homestead. The credit would not only cost the state, but it would cost the counties. Homestead owners in those counties would be upset by the loss of revenue and subsequent lack of services. Since they are the ones who vote in the district, they have the political clout.

1 comment:

  1. Margaret, this is a nice post. Could you add some hyperlinks to it? For example, you may link to full texts of the bills, some related discussions, or even webpages of some representatives on the Internet.