Taxes: Home, garage and one acre?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 7, 1999

Local lawmakers say it’s still uncertain whether a plan to alleviate property tax burdens on farmers will pass this year.

Wednesday, April 07, 1999

Local lawmakers say it’s still uncertain whether a plan to alleviate property tax burdens on farmers will pass this year.

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One plan would prohibit the taxing on any agricultural property except the home, garage and one acre of land on school bond issues or excess levies approved by local referendums.

More than 100 farmers from across the state rallied in support of that and other bills aimed at reducing property taxes for farmers.

Rep. Dan Dorman, R-Albert Lea, said he supports the idea of farmers paying based only on their home, garage and an acre of land. They will still pay regular taxes on all land owned.

He said current conditions place too much of the cost of constructing buildings and other levied projects on the backs of the farmers. While farmers pay more, the only get a single vote, he added.

As for the bill’s chances, the freshman legislator said he’s hopeful the measure will make is into the overall tax bill next month.

&uot;It seems to be gaining momentum,&uot; he said.

Sen. Pat Piper, DFL-Austin, said the measure sounds like a good idea, but added she was uncertain of all the particulars and noted things could change before the bill leaves the Senate tax committee.

&uot;It’s hard to read who is going to do what,&uot; she said.

In other legislative action, Piper noted the Senate Health and Family Security Committee voted down legislation that would have extended provisions of the Minnesota Indoor Clean Air Act by extending workplace smoking prohibitions.

She said she was surprised when senators appeared to side with tobacco companies.

On the issue of bed rails in nursing homes, a bill was approved and sent to the Senate floor, allowing residents or families to request the use of bed rails or similar restraints.

&uot;Patients’ relatives will now be involved in the decision,&uot; Piper said of the bill.

Still, she noted the federal government hasn’t stated whether it is opposed to the action.

In the House, Dorman recalled the passage of the wolf bill, which would allow an open hunting and trapping season the first January after the wolf is removed from the federal endangered species list.

The House also passed a measure that would cause teachers to lose their license if convicted of criminal sexual misconduct. Dorman said he thought it was a good measure since the same is already true for several public careers.

Both Dorman and Piper noted the next week at the Capitol will hold a variety of action as lawmakers work toward final decisions for the session.

&uot;The next two or three weeks should be very interesting,&uot; said Dorman.