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Let's talk taxes: DFLers encourage tax credit applications

BEMIDJI -- Minnesota Speaker of the House Paul Thissen, along with Reps. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, and Roger Erickson, DFL-Baudette, took a break from campaigning Wednesday to send out a call for more people to submit property tax credit applications.

DFL legislators previously promised to lower property taxes through more aid to towns and cities, as well as credits to taxpayers like the ones Thissen, Erickson and Persell were touting in Bemidji. The 2014 tax credit applications for homeowners and renters are due Aug. 15, Thissen pointed out.

"If you haven't qualified in the past for this kind of property tax relief... it's very likely that when you go in you're going to qualify," he said. "People should know about that."

Whether property taxes are increasing or decreasing in 2014 is a matter of debate between Republicans and Democrats. A July nonpartisan House research paper forecast taxes to go down $49 million but also said there would be a $124 million increase without the new tax credits factored in. The $49 million number comes from an assumption there'll be a $157 million increase in homeowner and renter tax credit money and $17 million in supplemental agricultural property credits.

Persell said it was telling that only one constituent had called him to complain about property taxes recently.

"The proof's already in the pudding," he said. "That's the barometer I use on it."

Erickson said when he encounters people complaining about property taxes, he tells them to bear their property value in mind.

"The reason that their taxes are going up is that their property values are going up," he said.

Property tax decreases are a plus the DFL can highlight during the 2014 election, Thissen said.

"From my perspective, it's something positive we can talk about," he said. "I think what it shows is that we're willing to roll up our sleeves and actually come up with policies that are going to make a difference in middle class families' lives."

Those interested in applying for the credits can go to the Minnesota Department of Revenue's website at

To look at the entire House research paper on property taxes, visit

Zach Kayser
Zach Kayser covers local government and city issues for the Pioneer. He previously worked for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, and is an alumni of the University of Minnesota, Morris. 
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