Minnesota Public Radio: New tax credit for ag land might help rural schools increase funding

EXCERPT: “Dozens of school districts across the state are asking their residents to take on additional property taxes to pay for things like upgraded facilities, new school buildings, pools and technology. Most of those requests, which will come in the form of referenda on Election Day ballots Tuesday — are in rural districts . . . The Minnesota Rural Education Association estimates about half of rural school bond issues have passed in recent years. ‘You have probably twice the success rate in the metro areas that you did in the rural areas in passing these,’ said state Rep. Paul Marquart, D-Dilworth, who chairs the Minnesota House tax committee. Marquart said the practice of using property taxes to pay for new schools has put a disproportionate share of education funding on farmers — because they’re often the people who own the most land in rural districts. The Minnesota Rural Education Association estimates farmers often pay more than two-thirds of the total increase when taxes go up . . . So in 2016, Marquart and colleagues proposed a bipartisan bill that might alleviate some of that pressure on large landowners by offering a tax credit from the state government to agricultural landowners who pay taxes for school bonds.” FULL STORY: http://bit.ly/339u15J