ďThose are not property tax statements,Ē James Girard, revenue commissioner, advises, ďbut rather notices of proposed 1998 property taxes and information about the combined impact of proposed budget decisions made by the property ownerís city, county, school district, and other special taxing districts. It also lets people know when their local budget hearings will be held and where.Ē
This yearís notices provide more information than before, Girard said. As in previous years, each notice pertains specifically to the ownerís property. However, it includes not only a detailed breakdown of school district levies, state determined spending, voter approved spending and other various levies, but also current and proposed increases and decreases due to spending decisions. It also tells property owners about increases and decreases caused by changes in property value, class rates, and state aid, for example. Finally, it gives taxpayers an overall percentage of those increases or decreases.
ďTruth in Taxation notices enable Minnesota taxpayers to play a more active role in local government decision making by knowing where local government plans to spend their property tax money,Ē Girard said. ďPeople often mistake the property tax as a state tax and think they have little say in how much they must pay. That neednít be. Property taxes are local taxes, levied by local governments in order to provide services to the people who live in their areas.Ē
According to Girard, about 45 percent of all property tax is used for schools; 28 percent for counties, 15 percent for cities and the balance for townships and special taxing districts. Each jurisdiction determines which services it thinks taxpayers want and those required by law. The proposed budget determines the revenue needed.
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