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Letter to the editor: DFL budget offering property tax relief

Nonpartisan Minnesota House Research released its property tax simulations recently, and the findings are good news for Minnesota homeowners. After a decade during which most Minnesotans saw their property taxes nearly double, the DFL budget is finally offering real relief.

The report shows that property taxes are projected to decrease by more than $100 million for homeowners next year, and that figure does not include the $135 million in direct property tax relief we provided through the Homestead Credit Refund.

In our budget, property taxes are projected to decrease for homeowners and commercial businesses. Statewide, property taxes are projected to be $181 million (2.1 percent) less than they otherwise would be if the Legislature kept in place the GOP budget passed in 2011. The overall tax reductions are projected to be 3 percent in greater Minnesota and 1.5 percent in the metro area.

These property tax reductions are across the board --EMDASH-- for homeowners, renters, businesses and agriculture land.

Also, new construction in the state is bringing in $76 million in first-time property tax payments, which is good news for Minnesota's economy.

As a result of the 2011 budget, statewide property taxes increased by $365 million, or 4.5 percent. An 8 percent increase fell on greater Minnesota with a 2.6 percent increase in the metro.

The next budget provides more than $300 million in middle-class property tax relief for Minnesotans through the Homestead Credit Refund, retooled renters' credit and increased aid to counties, cities and townships.

In 2011, the Republicans raised property taxes on renters who earn less than $55,000 a year by cutting the renters' credit program. The new budget enhances the renters' credit, providing property tax relief to Minnesota renters (including elderly and disabled renters), so that the neediest renters see the greatest benefit. Under the improved renter's credit, 66,000 filers will see a bigger refund, 10,000 additional renters will qualify, and the average renter will see their refund increase by $179.

We promised to take action on high property taxes, and I am pleased to report that we did just that.

Rep. Dan Schoen

DFL-St. Paul Park