After more than a decade of continuous property tax increases, Minnesotans will benefit from long-overdue property tax relief in 2014. According to new information released today by the Minnesota Department of Revenue, property taxes statewide are projected to decrease for the first time since 2002. Increased aid to local governments, sales tax exemptions for cities and counties, and direct property tax refunds for hundreds of thousands of homeowners and renters included in Governor Mark Dayton's Budget for a Better Minnesota are projected to decrease property taxes next year by an estimated $121 million, or 1.5 percent.
"For too long, middle class families, seniors, and small businesses have been hammered by repeated increases in their property taxes," said Governor Dayton. Now, for the first time in over ten years, Minnesotans will receive the property tax relief they need. I want to thank the DFL leadership in the Minnesota Legislature for providing this relief."
"Without new investments in property tax relief, Minnesotans would have seen an increase in their property taxes next year -- continuing a decade-long trend of rising property taxes," said Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans. "Instead, when new local aids, credits, and exemptions are factored-in, along with increased refunds for homeowners and renters, we estimate property taxes will fall in Minnesota by $121 million."
Since 2002, property taxes have gone up 86 percent, placing a huge burden on the middle class. Those increases were due in large part to repeated cuts in aid to local governments, and cuts in direct property tax refunds for Minnesotans. In fact, between 2002 and 2013, County Program Aid was cut by 39 percent, and Local Government Aid was cut by 25 percent -- putting pressure on local governments to cut services and raise property taxes.
According to the new information released today by the Department of Revenue, between 2003 and 2013, property taxes went up every year -- by as little as $92 million in 2011 to as much as $507 million in 2006. Those increases in property taxes made Minnesota's tax system more regressive, placing a higher burden on middle class families, senior citizens on fixed incomes, and small businesses.
In an effort to reduce the rising burden of property taxes on the middle class, Governor Dayton and the DFL legislature made crucial investments this session in property tax relief. As a result, the state's new Budget for a Better Minnesota will result in lower property taxes for the average Minnesotan.
Delivering Property Tax Relief for the Middle Class
The budget signed into law this spring by Governor Dayton included the following measures aimed at reducing the rising burden of property taxes on middle class families.
Increased Aid to Local Governments -- The budget increases Local Government Aid by $80 million and County Program Aid by $40 million annually. The budget also reinstates township aid at a $10 million level. To learn how much Local Government Aid your city will receive under the new budget, click here. To learn how much County Program Aid your county will receive under the new budget, click here.
Sales Tax Relief for Cities and Counties -- The budget provides a sales tax exemption for local governments, allowing them to collect less in property taxes from their residents. This change will provide property tax relief for Minnesota homeowners and renters by reducing local government expenses by an estimated $172 million.
Homestead Credit Refund -- In 2014, Homestead Credit Refunds to homeowners are projected to increase by $117 million. Minnesota homeowners who received a refund last year will see an average increase in their refund of 27 percent. Over 137,000 more homeowners will now be eligible for this refund.
Property Tax Relief for Renters -- The budget provides more property tax relief to renters by increasing funding for the Renter's Property Tax Refund program. This program is projected to increase $23 million in 2014. Renters who received a refund last year will see an average increase of 25 percent in their refunds next year. Over 30,000 more renters will now be eligible for refunds in 2014.
Minnesotans Should Apply for Property Tax Refunds
Minnesota homeowners and renters may be eligible for a property tax refund. The deadline to apply for that refund is just a few weeks away. In order to file for a property tax refund, Minnesotans must complete their applications online or by mail by August 15, 2013. While the deadline to file is August 15, homeowners and renters have an additional one year grace period to claim a refund for 2013.