Double-digit property tax increases coming in Mpls. and Saint-Paul

For the second time in the past decade, the majority of homeowners in Minneapolis and St. Paul will see property tax increases of around 10% or more next year.

The boost comes a year after local authorities withheld large tax hikes, citing the pandemic and other factors, and will hit lower-income neighborhoods hardest where housing values ​​continue to rise.

The authorities are now stepping up their efforts to refer homeowners to state property tax reimbursement programs. In Ramsey County, for example, about $ 25 million in potential refunds goes unclaimed, Auditor / Treasurer Heather Bestler said.

Tax truth notices sent to homeowners in November revealed a handful of double-digit percentage hikes on the subway – from Oak Grove to Mounds View and from Belle Plaine to Lake Elmo. The opinions serve as a framework for tax hearings before local elected officials, but for the most part, the opportunities for citizens to let off steam or to urge restraint have passed.

There has been no respite for Minneapolis homeowners like Karina Secord, who in an email to city council members complained about litter strewn across her lane and police failure to tackle crime. on his street – all while his tax bill was expected to double.

“Outrageous,” she wrote. “Have any council members considered a tax increase limit? “

In the Near North neighborhood of Minneapolis where Secord lives, the median home value rose 12.6%, according to a report by a Hennepin County appraiser. The median home in the neighboring Camden neighborhood rose 8%. Likewise, high increases have been reported in the St. Paul’s North End and East Side neighborhoods, leaving homeowners there vulnerable to larger tax hikes.

Eric Charles, who moved to the East Side in 2019, said in a recent voicemail to members of St. Paul City Council: “You have to understand how to pay. [for] without counting on property taxes and increasing them astronomically. “

His home appreciated 12.5% ​​in 2021, according to county records.

Last month’s tax notices ignore school district funding proposals approved by voters in November. This means that taxpayers in communities like Stillwater and Shakopee will see considerably higher bills in the spring. Stillwater’s school tax jumped 19.9% ​​and Shakopee’s by 26.5%, according to the state Revenue Department.

St. Paul and Minneapolis school boards approved their district levies last week. Minneapolis, which had been slow to clarify the magnitude of its potential increase, told the Star Tribune on December 9 that it was 7.4%, which was later exceeded. The district also took the opportunity to tout the state’s property tax rebate and deferral programs.

St. Paul’s city, county and school officials were told in September of the combined impacts of their levy proposals. Next, the property tax system was described as unfair to low-income homeowners because it is not income-based, but payments consume more of a low-income family’s budget.

Mayor Melvin Carter also said low-income families are hit hardest when cuts are made to avoid tax increases.

Repayments, in turn, have taken on increased importance. But getting more people to apply – even after emailing, tax hearing documents, and mail inserts – has been a challenge. This has led some officials to wonder: Couldn’t they be automatic?

The state now offers two types of homestead loan repayments: the regular credit, which is available to those with household income below $ 116,180, and a special credit, which applies when taxes rise. more than 12% and at least $ 100.

Ramsey County Council will pass its 2022 legislative platform on Tuesday, and among the goals is a push to shift the special credit from a credit requested by a homeowner to a credit automatically calculated and applied to property tax returns .

Ryan Brown, a spokesperson for the Revenue Department, said the office has spoken to officials in Ramsey County about the rebate programs. Any change would require legislative action, he said, and the ministry would have to revisit any bills introduced.

He added that the Revenue Ministry is unable to track the actual amount of unclaimed property tax refunds in any given year. But he said his general estimate is that a third of homeowners who may be eligible do not participate in the program.

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