Letter to the Editor

Oftedahl: New tax credit alleviates portion of referendum burden from local agricultural properties

A new state tax credit will impact every owner of agricultural land, if the bond referendum proposal of Luverne Public School District is passed on Tuesday.

The School Building Bond Agricultural Credit, also known as the Ag2School Credit, was passed by the Minnesota Legislature this spring and signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton.

It provides a 40-percent tax credit for owners of agricultural land when school districts borrow to improve their school buildings either after voter approval or through other authorized board actions.

The tax credit begins in 2018 and applies to both new and existing building debt.

Too often, rural school districts struggle to pass the bonds for remodeling or replacing school buildings because of the tax burden placed on our local farmers. This tax credit makes the burden fairer for local farmers and hopefully encourages people to take a second look at the value of investing in better schools.

The state tax credit provides a direct decrease in the tax impact on each acre of both homesteaded and non-homesteaded agricultural property for all school building debt.

For example, if the Nov. 7 referendum is approved, the owners of homestead agricultural land valued at $10,000 per acre will see their tax impact, compared to the old law, decrease from 39 cents per month per acre, to 14 cents per month per acre with the new Ag2School Tax Credit.

This credit is paid directly by the state to the school district, and the benefit is passed along to local landowners. As a result, the credit won’t increase the obligation of any other local property owners.

If you want more information about November’s bond referendum, you can go to https://buildingluverne.org or call me at 507-283-8808.

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