A series of bills were introduced in both the House and Senate before the Legislature’s spring break that would help rural districts with facility related issues. Farmers have been active at the Capitol this session seeing tax relief from school bond taxes. MREA has been working with farmers and legislators on this issue and an Ag2School plan. View a brief on this issue.
Bond Tax Credit
One set of bills, HF 2122 (Rep. Deb Kiel) and SF 1995 (Sen. Kevin Dahle), would create an bond tax credit for agriculture producers. These bills would give them a 40 percent credit on those taxes, but would have agricultural land also help pay for the cost of this credit through a statewide tax on all agricultural land.
A second, more generous proposal is HF 2077 (Rep. Drazkowski) and SF 2004 (Sen. Lyle Koenan) which would have the state pay for a 50 percent credit back to farmers for school bond taxes. The Tax committees now weigh these options and whether or not they fit into their tax cut plans.
Another set of bill, HF 2121 (Rep. Deb Kiel) and SF 1996 (Sen. Dahle), would give districts not in the Alternative Facilities program an expanded long term maintenance levy that would be heavily equalized by the state. The bill calls for a $470 per pupil levy allowance and has a large price tag for equalization. The proposal is scalable to the legislature can consider phasing this in over time.
Behind the Issue
MREA raised facility fallout issue this session and brought options to address the deferred maintenance funding inequities in Minnesota. The inequities between the Alternative Facility school districts (large metro primarily) and all others is well documented. Legislators of all stripes have at the tip of their tongue the $2.79 per square foot versus $0.58 per square foot differential in spending power between the two categories of districts. View printer-friendly brief on Ag2School