Will Enbridge tax snafu impact broadband investment in Northern MN?

MinnPost reports

A group of northern Minnesota counties, cities, towns and school districts are now on the hook for a massive bill from Enbridge Energy after a long-running court saga over the oil and gas company’s property taxes was largely resolved this week.

State tax courts earlier this year ruled the Minnesota Department of Revenue had overvalued Enbridge’s property between 2012 and 2016, and the state on Wednesday appealed only the ruling for 2012 to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The bill for all five years is likely more than $30 million, according to preliminary estimates made in April by DOR. While that’s not an enormous sum for the state to handle, local governments, at least for now, have to pick up most of the tab, even though DOR was responsible for the problem.

The Bemidji Pioneer outlined the counties involved in an earlier article on the “tax saga”…

Last month, the Minnesota Tax Court made decisions in favor of the Enbridge company, which argued that it had been overtaxed for several years by the Department of Revenue. In the decisions, the state agency was found to have overvalued the company’s pipelines from 2012-216.

However, while what was challenged in court were the valuations by the state, counties are the parties that will be liable for the tax refunds. Enbridge’s pipeline system runs through 13 Minnesota counties, which may be impacted by the decision.

They include Aitkin, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and St. Louis Counties. The subject has been in litigation for several years and has remained a great concern to local government units.

This is what you get when your worlds collide and you get notices of info on infrastructure and Line 3 for different reasons. If left holding the bill, I’m concerned that these 13 counties will have less money for broadband. Now some of these counties are fine but some are not. I have listed the counties below with their ranking for access to broadband at speeds of 100 Mbps down and 20 up.

  • Aitkin – 81
  • Beltrami – 5
  • Carlton – 76
  • Cass – 66
  • Clearwater – 22
  • Hubbard – 18
  • Itasca – 28
  • Kittson – 35
  • Marshall –  61
  • Pennington – 10
  • Polk – 17
  • Red Lake – 30
  • St. Louis – 39
This entry was posted in Funding, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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