PoliGraph: DFL, GOP both right – and wrong – about property taxes


poligraphRepublicans say property taxes have gone up this year.

Democrats say they’ve gone down.

Confused? So was PoliGraph.

As it turns out, both parties are right, but they’re both leaving out important facts, too.

The Evidence

 It’s an election year, and that means you’ll be hearing a lot about taxes – who raised them and who wants to repeal them.

Republicans and Democrats have found good talking points on both sides of the issue.

“Today we learned [property taxes] are going up by $125 million,” said Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Honour.

Other Republicans claim that this year’s property tax levies are the highest in Minnesota’s history.

That’s in sharp contrast to what Democrats had to say about property taxes.

“Minnesotans have seen their property taxes skyrocket over the last decade,” said House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis. “Now, we are seeing the positive results and lower property taxes for homeowners and small business.”

It’s true that property taxes have increased roughly $125 million, according to numbers from the Minnesota House Research Department and the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

One reason the levies have gone up is because voters approved higher taxes at a record rate last year.

But what those increases mean to you depends a lot on where you live and what you live in. For instance, people who own residential homesteads in some areas of the state will see taxes decline while people who own apartments in other parts of the state may see higher property taxes, according to an analysis by the House Research Department.

It’s also the largest levy in recent history, according to House Research (though the trend isn’t surprising because levies go up every year.)

Republicans don’t mention the property tax relief the DFL passed during the last session.

Property taxes are actually $8 million less than they were last year if you take those refunds and credits into account.

It’s important to note that the discount is a preliminary projection. The state’s property tax experts point out that the refunds are based on what Minnesota’s property owners could claim. In reality, not everyone ends up taking the money.

Of course, $8 million is far short of the $121 million property tax decline the state’s revenue department projected last summer.


House Research, Simulation 14A2, Feb. 28, 2014

Steve Hinze, Legislative Analyst, Minnesota House Research Department




  • Roman Levit

    In short:
    Republicans say property taxes are up and…
    DFL’ers say property taxes are down while…
    Reality says property taxes are $8 million lower than last year which means…
    both sides are wrong. Obviously.

  • JDan

    In short property taxes are up.

    The state is refunding some of our property taxes, even though the state does not collect property taxes. So, property taxes are up and income taxes are being rebated to those that pay property taxes.