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Rep. Lislegard & Sen. Hauschild Propose $80 Million+ in Funding for Iron Range

Monday, April 15, 2024

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the House Property Tax Division, chaired by State Representative Dave Lislegard (DFL – Aurora) passed its ‘Division Report’ onto the full House Tax Committee. The package – authored by Rep. Lislegard – includes many critical infrastructure investments along with permanent property tax cuts for homeowners on the Iron Range and northeastern Minnesota. The proposal appropriates taconite taxes – which mining companies pay in lieu of property taxes – to leverage significant investments in schools, communities, and recreation while cutting property taxes for hard-working families and senior citizens.

State Senator Grant Hauschild, (DFL – Hermantown) introduced Senate File 5435, a similar proposal, that will be heard in the Senate Tax Committee on April 18th.

“Senator Hauschild and I are working with a ‘Range First’ focus to cut taxes and invest in our local communities,” Rep. Lislegard said. “This package continues our commitment to building a better life for seniors and families in our region by improving our schools, taking advantage of economic opportunities, and growing tourism, and more to strengthen the core Iron Range.”

Rep. Lislegard and Sen. Hauschild – who serves on the Senate Taxes Committee – are proposing the largest increase in the Taconite Homestead Credit since it was frozen in 1998. The legislation would increase the Taconite Homestead Credit from an average of $289-$315 per homeowner to $515 per homeowner – a nearly 77% increase. The newly updated Taconite Homestead Credit would be ongoing each year, making the tax cut permanent.

The Taconite Homestead Credit applies to homeowners in school districts in the Taconite Relief Area. These school districts include Nashwauk-Keewatin, Cook County, Greenway, Chisholm, Lake Superior, Ely, Hibbing, Mt. Iron-Buhl, St. Louis County, Mesabi East, and Rock Ridge. 

“By increasing the Taconite Homestead Credit, we can provide relief to Iron Range families immediately and permanently," said Sen. Hauschild. “After a 26-year freeze, it’s the right thing to do for the Iron Range.”

Ron Pittman, Cherry Township Supervisor, testified in support of Rep. Lislegard’s proposal in front of the House Property Tax Division.

“We need property tax relief, and Rep. Lislegard’s bill deserves your support,” Supervisor Pittman said. “My neighbors, many senior citizens, and working people appreciate Rep. Lislegard’s effort on our behalf.”

“What champions for education we have in Rep. Lislegard and Sen. Hauschild,” said Reggie Engebritson, Superintendent of St. Louis County Schools and Mountain Iron-Buhl Schools. This bill includes critical funding for special education and alternative learning for children on the Iron Range. Our nine cooperating school districts cannot thank them enough.”

Rep. Lislegard and Sen. Hauschild’s Mineral Article in the Tax Bill also authorizes and directs the Commissioner of the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation to provide additional funding for projects across Northeastern Minnesota. The investments total $49 million in 2024 and $30.5 million in 2025.

“The Iron Range has a long history of using the tax proceeds generated by mining to reinvest in new opportunities for the Iron Range,” Rep. Dave Lislegard said. “People in our region – who live in communities where wealth is produced in our taconite mines – are deeply invested in making all these projects successful, and they deserve resources to improve their communities. I am incredibly blessed and honored to represent the people of the Iron Range who sent Sen. Hauschild and me to Saint Paul to do real work and deliver results that improve the lives of our citizens and to help build up our communities, schools, and improve recreation.  We avoid political games or posturing and concentrate on delivering.”

“The Iron Range has always punched above our weight in St. Paul because we focus on delivering for our communities rather than getting distracted by the nonsense we often see in our politics,” Sen. Grant Hauschild said. “The mining done in our communities by our residents deserves to be invested back in our people. That is exactly what we’re doing, protecting what is ours so that our communities prosper.” 

“The efforts by Rep. Lislegard and Sen. Hauschild to help improve the infrastructure of our communities show that these two legislators have combined their seniority, experience, and creativity to make a real difference for our towns, schools, and supporting our outdoor recreation culture,” said Biwabik Mayor Jim Weikum. “Having Dave Lislegard as Chairman of the Committee made a huge difference for us.”

Video of today’s House Property Tax Division’s public hearing will be available from House Public Information Services on YouTube.