Property tax relief needs to be part of overall tax reform

Minnesota House Democrats are working on a bill to provide $250 million in property tax relief for state property owners and renters.

While we agree that property tax payers have been hit particularly hard in the past few budgets as the state dipped into the Local Government Aid program, and could use some relief, we think property tax relief should come as part of a reform of the state tax system in general.

The state’s tax system has been tinkered with, tweaked and adjusted here and there for years as various interest groups have come and demanded relief. Each effort to lower taxes on one class of taxpayer has resulted in increases for others.

The DFL property tax reform will undoubtedly have the same effect. The DFL is expected to announce its plans for funding property tax relief this week. Undoubtedly it will feature higher taxes on high-income earners and other classes of tax payers.

Minnesota’s tax system is in need of an overhaul. It needs to be simplified, with clearer definitions of who pays for what, and made fairer for all. Relieving the pressure on one class of taxpayers by increasing the pressure on others isn’t really a solution.