Schools for Equity in Education

– Legislative Update

**ACTION ALERT* ** Contact Tax Chairs to ask for school levy property tax relief.

Following is a message from SEE Executive Director Brad Lundell regarding the action alert:

Negotiations will begin soon to resolve differences that exist between the House and Senate tax bills. The Senate has a much larger tax bill, but their bill does not include any improvements in school levy equalization. The House tax bill increases equalization on the local optional revenue and ties the formula to growth in statewide average property wealth to make the tax relief permanent.

Equalization has received attention this session with the introduction of HF 3224 (Huot)/SF 3554 (Rarick). That bill would have significantly increased the equalization factors for the local option revenue, voter-approved operating referendum, and voter-approved debt service levy. It was an ambitious bill, and the House bill does bring greater equalization to local option revenue, but the final results fall far short of our goal.

There is still a chance to make progress on this issue, but it will take action on your part to make that happen. Please contact your legislators in the Minnesota House and Senate.  You can find their contact information for them here.

Copy the following key legislators in the House and Senate – Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, Senate Tax Chair Carla Nelson, Senate Property Tax Chair Bill Weber, Senate Education Finance and Policy Chair Roger Chamberlain, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, House Tax Chair Paul Marquart, House Property Tax Chair Cheryl Youakim, and House E-12 Finance Chair Jim Davnie.

Cut and paste to copy these legislators into your email.,,,,,,,,

Send your email in the next two weeks and try to incorporate the talking points below within the message:

  • There will be a tax bill this year, but the visions of the House and Senate are dramatically different.
  • One area where agreement can come together is on the issue of school levy equalization.
  • This is property tax relief for taxpayers in low property wealth school districts that helps lessen the inequity between low property wealth and high property wealth school districts.
  • Tax fairness pertaining to education levies has lagged dramatically since the 1990s.  Given the state’s projected budget surplus, the time is now to take a giant step forward in promoting greater tax fairness for property taxpayers in low property wealth school districts.
  • The House tax bill concentrates on the board-approved local option revenue and does not address the voter-approved operating referendum and debt service levies. The final tax package should address all of these levies. (Voter-approved referendum and debt service levies along with the board-approved location optional revenue.)
  • In closing, the historic budget surplus has given the Legislature the opportunity to bring significant reform to the school levy system. This opportunity may never present itself again, so the time is now to act!

There are data runs available for HF 3224/SF 3554, but it is unlikely that a final tax package would reach that magnitude of relief. Still, it is essential to reference the need for property tax relief in all these areas – voter-approved referendum and debt service levies along with the location optional revenue – and that the equalization factors are set at a level that produces significant and ongoing property tax relief.

(You can learn more about equalization from the HF3224/SF3554 Talking Points, even though we don’t recommend referencing the specific bill number in your email. You can compare the property tax relief that is currently in the House tax bill versus what was proposed in HF3224/SF3554)

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Deb Griffiths
Schools for Equity in Education
Director of Communications and Community Outreach


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SEE Side-by-Side Comparison

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