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Comparing Cook County taxes with the rest of Minnesota

Cook County's new branding design
Cook County's new branding design

A common complaint at levy-setting time is that Cook County property taxes are too high. However, a comparison of the property tax rate in Cook County with other Minnesota counties indicates it is among the lowest in the state, according to this report.

According to documents submitted to WTIP from staff at Cook County, there are only three counties with median home values (MHV) higher than Cook County and three counties with slightly lower MHV. A majority are in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area. The Cook County median home value is $240,500.

There is only one county (Aitkin) with a lower average property tax rate than Cook County. The rate in Cook County is 0.48 percent, Aitkin County is 0.46 percent.  All other counties take a bigger bite out of the MHV than Cook. In fact, one would need to move to Cass County where the median home value is $177,100 to have a lower median annual property tax bill. All the same, the tax rate would be higher at 0.57 percent.

The median annual property tax payment in Cook County is $1,150, which ranks 31 out of 87 counties. If you moved up one place to Washington County where the MHV is $1,400 higher than Cook, your tax bill would be $2,625 or 1.09 percent tax rate. If you chose Hennepin County, one place below where the MHV is $9,600 less than Cook, your tax bill would be $3,037 or a 1.32 percent tax rate.

All six of the Arrowhead counties have lower median home values than Cook and all but Aitkin County have higher average property tax rates.

There are two types of property taxes in Minnesota – levies based on net tax capacity and essentially set by the county board, and market value levies, which are voter approved. According to the source of this information, the best way to compare the overall tax burden between counties is to look at average effective tax rates. The average effective tax rate is calculated by taking the median annual property tax as a percentage of the median home value.

The Minnesota average tax rate is 1.17 percent. So, no matter where in the state you move – with that one exception – your tax rate will be more than it is in Cook County.

In summary, property values are high in Cook County when compared to other counties in Minnesota, but the property tax rate here in Cook County is comparatively low.

Information compiled by Jay Anderson and Joe Friedrichs at WTIP.