Together with school board chairs and local farmers, superintendents across Greater Minnesota have raised their voices in the past week, including sending letters to their local legislators and submitting articles to their local newspapers with data provided by MREA.
We encourage others to continue advocating for this critical tax credit. Schools across Greater Minnesota depend on it to complete necessary upgrades to their facilities. View Ag2School’s impact on school districts.
In 2016 and now in 2017, rural legislators from both sides of the aisle fought hard to create a fairer state share of school facility costs by targeting property tax relief to farm property for taxes paid on school bonds. This Ag2School 40 percent property tax credit gained broad support among education and agriculture organizations in Minnesota.
But we couldn’t realize the benefit because it was in the tax bill vetoed last year and a special session never occurred. This cannot happen again. Ag2School shares broad based support and rural legislators ought to make sure that it becomes law no matter what legislative hurdles they have to jump at the end of session.
Wth just over a week left this session, the legislature’s $1.15 billion tax cut plan seems to be the most obvious headliner to draw a stark distinction between the GOP and DFL. The problem for rural schools is if the tax bill is vetoed, it’s not clear if there will be a second attempt at a more targeted bill that continues to include Ag2School.
The legislature can craft a smaller tax bill with provisions that the Governor has indicated he would agree to such as Ag2School 40% tax credit, individual income tax credits for excessive college loan debt payments, and some debt service equalization for school districts with high levels of school facility debt. The legislature is in control of the size and content of the bills they send to the Governor.