A group of 16 Twin Cities suburbs have banded together arguing that their residents are the ones shouldering the greatest property tax burden — not residents in Greater Minnesota. The Municipal Legislative Commission has launched a new website called PropertyTaxFairness.com that says a recent report by the Minnesota Department of Revenue found that Twin Cities metro area homeowners paid a 39 percent higher share of their income to property taxes than their Greater Minnesota counterpart.
The group is also urging residents in these cities to contact their lawmakers to make sure that any changes to the property tax system do not disproportionately hurt suburban taxpayers.
This push comes as lawmakers are considering steep cuts in Local Government Aid to cities. The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities has been vocal in its opposition to these cuts with their own website, ThankLGA.org. A House Republican proposal initial called for deep cuts in aid to Twin Cities suburbs, but later backed off that proposal. The GOP-backed House Tax Bill would phase out LGA for Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth, all cities of the first class, by 2015. It's important to note that Rochester officially became a city of the first class in the wake of the recent 2010 census, but it would be excluded from those cuts. And both Republicans and Democrats do not seem eager to bring up any efforts to include the Med City, a swing district that both the GOP and DFLers are eagerly courting. Democrats did not offer any amendment to add Rochester to the list of first-class cities getting cut.
The Senate Tax bill does not single out the three cities. Lawmakers are working to reach a compromise tax bill.
Representatives from Greater Minnesota have been vocal in their opposition to any cuts in Local Government Aid. Most notably, the Albert Lea Chamber of Commerce has been very vocal in their concerns about cuts to LGA and successfully pressured Rep. Rich Murray, R-Albert Lea, to vote against bills that would cut aid.