Letter: Ag tax credit helps balance student need and equitable tax

Published 8:24 am Friday, November 3, 2017

Just as people need to update or improve or add onto their house after a few years, schools also face maintenance and upgrade needs — or sometimes a new house to replace an older one.

Up until this year, the taxes placed on ag land fell disproportionately on farmers. During the 2017 Legislative Session, our representatives passed the Agricultural Bond Tax Credit, which the Minnesota School Boards Association supported as a way to balance the needs of student learning environments with taxes placed on farmers. This 40 percent tax credit will help our school districts in Greater Minnesota with existing and future school bonds.

While cities and counties don’t need voter approval for new construction, school districts must continue to provide justification to the voters and to the Minnesota Department of Education that construction is needed.  The reasons for construction vary by school district, but common reasons include an increase in population or aging buildings that require updating or replacing.  These learning environments may provide all-day kindergarten, early learning and other space to help prepare our students for the workforce and/or post-secondary education.

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This 40 percent agricultural bond credit enjoys a broad base of bipartisan support, not only helping schools and students, but farmers as well. As many districts ask their citizens Tuesday to help with building and operating needs, MSBA would like to thank legislators in their bi-partisan support for ag land tax relief.

But most of all, we’d like to thank our citizens for supporting learning environments where students can thrive.

Kirk Schneidawind

Minnesota School Board Association executive director, St. Peter