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Legislative Update - April 22, 2022

Friday, April 22, 2022

Dear Neighbors,

This year, we have the opportunity to experience a rare convergence of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic Spring holidays. Last Monday, Judy and I attended an Islamic Iftar Dinner hosted by the City of Golden Valley and the local Somali community.




On Friday night, Judy and I were joined by our daughter, Danielle, for a traditional Jewish Seder in our home.


… and on Sunday evening, which was also my birthday, we enjoyed a Japanese dinner at a local restaurant (Nakamura), which has become a birthday tradition in our family.


Our holiday wishes go out to all those who worship the God who was revealed to Abraham and to the broader faith community, as well.

Property Taxes

With the recent receipt of 2022 home property valuations and property tax bills, I’ve been fielding lots of questions about property taxes over the past few weeks. In Bloomington, the average home value increase was 17% from January 2021 to January 2022, and many of you are concerned that your property taxes are going to increase commensurately. This confusion has been fueled by a guest column in Sunday’s StarTribune, where so-called housing experts Ben Marx and Brett Angel wrote that “as property values increase, so do property taxes.” This is totally false. A much better explanation was provided by Bloomington assessor Matt Gersemehl in his Bloomington Sun Current guest column last week, which I highly recommend.

A few basics:

Every January, each property’s assessed valuation is updated based on current market data. That valuation will be used to calculate your property taxes the following year. So, the property tax bill you just received which is payable in May and October of this year is based upon the market value of your home as of January, 2021. The January, 2022 valuation notice which you recently received will be the basis for your property taxes in 2023.

Your property taxes will not go up just because the value of your property went up. As explained by Matt, if the value of your home increased by 17% and the value of everybody else’s home in your city also increased by 17% there would be absolutely no impact on your property tax bill. Your share of the city’s overall tax base would remain the same and so would your tax bill. Increases in your property tax bill will be driven by inflationary increases in local government spending, net of other sources of local government income such as fees, hospitality taxes and grants from the State and Federal governments.

That being said, there are a few nuances to be aware of.

  • If the value of homes is increasing while the value of businesses is decreasing, that can cause a shift in the tax burden from businesses to homeowners and vice versa. Business values fell during the pandemic but are now rebounding.
  • If the value of your home increased by a more than average amount, that would cause your property taxes to go up, and vice versa. In recent years, the value of “starter homes” has increased relatively more than other homes; however, this past year larger homes have experienced a greater increase in value.
  • There are property tax relief programs which phase out as property values rise. For example, the Homestead Market Value Exclusion program completely phases out for home values in excess of $413,800 (The House Tax Bill would raise that limit to $437,000).
  • Home value in excess of $500,000 is taxed at a rate which is 25% higher than the tax on home value up to $500,000. Skyrocketing home values are pushing more and more homes into these valuation ranges.

The House Tax Bill would also expand the Homestead Credit (a.k.a. the “circuit breaker” program) for lower income households whose property tax burdens are high relative to their income. This program benefits many seniors on fixed incomes.

The “Targeted Refund” program for homeowners whose property taxes grow by more than 12% in one year will also become more generous under our tax bill.

The bottom line is that you should not panic over the extraordinary increase in your home’s valuation. If you still feel that your home has been unfairly valued, you should reach out to your local Assessor to avail yourself of the appeals processes that are established under State law. Our local governments have been doing a good job at controlling their costs and I have every expectation that they will continue to do so. House legislators are paying attention and are targeting tax relief specifically at homeowners who are most vulnerable to the indirect impacts of rising home values.


I was proud to stand alongside my colleagues in support of HF40, also known as the Bring it Home Legislation. It would establish a new state rental assistance account to help low income renters afford their rent and maintain their housing.

Transit Safety

My bipartisan transit safety bill received some press on Sunday, as well. Janet Moore’s story about Metro Transit’s struggles in hiring more public safety workers discussed the futility of a system which charges simple fare evasion as a misdemeanor crime instead of like a parking ticket, and requires scarce sworn peace officers to issue the tickets. My bill would allow Metro Transit to hire a larger force of non-sworn employees to issue tickets and maintain order on our trains and buses. The bill is on the floor of the House awaiting passage and is also included in the House Transportation bill.

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day! While we are continuing to make progress across the globe to reduce our carbon footprint and clean up pollution, we still have much more to accomplish. Here is some more information on this important day and 10 ways you can make a difference!

House DFL lawmakers are committed to protecting the environment. We are ensuring Minnesota is leading the transition to a clean energy economy. That is why the climate and energy bill invests in new energy technology start-ups and advancements in creating tomorrow’s energy grid. Minnesota is already the fastest changing climate compared to the rest of the country and it is impacting our health, our farms, and our infrastructure.

earth day

Free Park Day

This Saturday is free state park day in Minnesota! On four days in 2022, all 75 Minnesota state parks and state recreation areas will offer free admission to everyone. Mark your calendar for these fee-free dates:

  • Saturday, February 19
  • Saturday, April 23
  • Saturday, June 11
  • Friday, November 25

Minnesota state parks are open year-round, and there's a state park within 30 miles of most Minnesotans. With a free day in each season, it's a great opportunity to get out there and explore someplace new - or visit an old favorite at a new time of year! Whether you stay for the whole weekend or just spend a few hours outside, you'll make memories that will last a lifetime.

free park day

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Survey

Minnesota is working to become the leading state for plug-in electric vehicle (EV) use in the Midwest. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is working on a plan to invest federal funds in electric vehicle charging stations and is seeking your input. Please take this 5-minute survey to share your ideas about where to install electric vehicle chargers in our state.

Avian Influenza

There is a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) spreading through bird populations across the nation. Most confirmed cases of HPAI have been in backyard flocks. Highly pathogenic avian influenza is a reportable disease. If your flock has sudden, high death rates or many birds with signs of HPAI, contact your veterinarian or the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, at 651-296-2942, right away. Learn more here.

Birb Flu

Keep in Touch

Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can provide any assistance. Please follow me on my Facebook page for further updates and invite your friends and family to do so as well. 

Thanks for the honor of representing you at the Capitol. 


Steve Elkins
Representative, District 49B
Minnesota House of Representatives

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