Bills Introduced to Address Property Tax Judgments for State-Assessed Property

April 19, 2021

The bills would change current law, under which challenges to state-assessed property require cities, counties, towns, and schools to refund property taxes.

Sen. Paul Utke (R-Park Rapids) introduced a bill (SF 2438) on April 16 that would require the state to appropriate funds to repay the costs of property tax judgments against state-assessed property.

Currently, challenges to state-assessed property require cities, counties, towns, and schools to refund property taxes to the petitioner. Under the bill, the state would pay the petitioner, and local governments would be relieved of that responsibility.

The co-authors of the bill, Sens. Tom Bakk (I-Cook), Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks), Jason Rarick (R-Pine City), and Justin Eichorn (R-Grand Rapids), are all northern Minnesota legislators with districts potentially impacted by the pending five years of valuation challenges to the existing Enbridge pipeline that runs across northern Minnesota.

As introduced, the bill will not address the recent tax court decision related to Centerpoint Energy property in 40 counties, including Anoka, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Freeborn, Hennepin, Isanti, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Le Sueur, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Nicollet, Pipestone, Pope, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, and Wright.

Sen. Utke also introduced SF 2439, a bill that would require the commissioner of Revenue to report on large property tax judgments and settlements on state-assessed property. It would also establish a refund process that would either require the state to refund the amount or allow the property owner to take the refund as a credit against future corporate franchise tax liability.

Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne), who chairs the Senate Property Tax Subcommittee, indicated last week that he is planning to hold a hearing on the issues related to judgments on state assessed property and the impacts on local units of government.

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