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Democrats in the Minnesota House today released a report by the non-partisan Fiscal Analysis Department that projects property tax increases in 2008. Assistant Majority Leader Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) said that the average increase in Northern Hennepin County will be 7.6%. Hortman said the report is further evidence that property tax reform needs to be a top priority this session.
"Brooklyn Park property owners are tired of the year after year of huge property tax increases," she said. Hortman said the increases have been caused by the state taking less responsibility for funding basic government functions and pushing more responsibility down to city and county government. She pointed to a $614 million increase in the amount of school funding coming from property taxes as a sign of the trend.
"If you don't adequately fund schools, law enforcement and transportation at the state level, local governments need to make drastic cuts or increase property taxes," Hortman said. "Property taxes have increased $1.7 billion over the past five years and that is just unacceptable."
Hortman said that a number of property tax relief proposals are under consideration, including many suggested by citizens on the State Property Tax Comment Line. Permanent reform, according to Hortman, is linked to more consistent state funding of education and transportation.
"When we shortchange education and transportation at the state level, local governments pick up the tab," she said. "This has led to these huge increases. It's time to look at more state responsibility in these areas and less reliance on property taxes."