- Associated Press - Sunday, December 27, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota cabin owners could be in line for a big tax cut as House Republicans prepare a push to end the statewide property tax on residents’ second homes next year.

Minnesota has levied the statewide property tax on cabins as if they were businesses since 2002, when then-Gov. Jesse Ventura made the change, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1ZvCGrF ) reported. The tax hits cabins with a higher bill than normal homes, leading some advocates for getaway properties to lobby for a change.

“We’re not opposed to paying taxes,” said Nyle Zikmund, a 57-year-old Blaine resident who inherited a cabin on 40 acres in northern Minnesota. “We’re just opposed to paying an unfair share.”

The tax has generated about $44 million each year for the state and the money goes straight into Minnesota’s general fund.

Groups pushing for its elimination like the Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates argue that it’s pricing middle-class residents out of cabin ownership.

While Republicans who control the Minnesota House are on board, others like Democratic Rep. Paul Marquart aren’t sold. The Dilworth lawmaker said it’s unfair to extend a tax cut to wealthy lakefront property owners before slashing everyday homeowners’ bills.

“You could have a senior citizen in East Grand Forks not see one dime in property tax relief, yet someone in North Dakota, if they owned a lake cabin in Minnesota, they’d see significant property tax relief,” he said.

Rep. Greg Davids, who chairs the House Taxes Committee, acknowledged that eliminating the tax could be a boon for well-to-do residents. But he argued that it would also benefit the average cabin owner. Davids has also proposed ending statewide property taxes altogether.

“I would say overall that taxes are too high,” Davids said. “Any place where I can see to reduce that, I will. There’s a lot of middle-class homeowners that own cabins.”

It’s one of several proposals being floated as top lawmakers work out how to spend a projected $1.2 billion surplus when the Legislature returns in early March.


Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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