Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Equalization in Senate Tax Bill.  It's not a perfect provision, but given all the pushing I've done on debt service equalization over the past two decades to no avail, it would be like a starving man sending back Filet Mignon because it wasn't cooked quite right.  The Senate Tax bill contains a provision that would lower eligibility on the first tier of the debt service equalization program from 15.74% to 10% and raise the equalizing factor from 55.33% of the state average ANTC to 75% of the state average ANTC.  So far, so good.  The wrinkle is that the increased equalization would be good only for property taxes payable in 2018, which would put districts on a yo-yo with taxpayers.  While a one-year tax break would be appreciated by property taxpayers, districts would have to do a lot of explaining when the tax bill jumped again in 2019.  But still, it's nice to be seated at a table in the legislative restaurant and having the opportunity to talk about debt service equalization and how it can promote long-term fairness in Minnesota's property tax system.  I will be getting the data run to Deb Griffiths for distribution tomorrow, so watch your e-mail inbox.

So, there is debt service equalization in the Governor's bill (lowers 2nd tier to 19% from 26.24%) and the Senate bill (lowers first tier from 15.74% to 10% and raises equalizing factor), but there is nothing in the House bill.  As Meat Loaf once crooned, "Two out of three's not bad."  Meat Loaf would obviously have flunked the MCA math test for not knowing that two out of three equals 66.7%, but I won't quibble.  Anyway, with the above scenario in mind, enjoy this classic Meat Loaf song.

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