Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By A. R. Vander Vegt
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Enbridge wins lawsuit in MN Tax Court


On Tuesday, May 15, Judge Joanne Turner ruled in favor of Enbridge’s lawsuit in the Minnesota Tax Court.

In the ruling, the judge determined the pipelines were overvalued by $3.2 billion from 2012 to 2014 in 13 Minnesota counties — a number that includes Carlton County. The ruling, the Duluth News Tribune reported, could result in the counties reimbursing Enbridge.

Carlton County Auditor/Treasurer Paul Gassert weighed in to the issue through an email. “The Enbridge issue is not new, and Enbridge is no the only ‘utility’ contesting their valuation.”

Gassert explained that instead of the county assessor placing value on properties for property tax purposes, the state will determine the values for some properties, like Enbridge. The value the state determines is used by the county to calculate and collect property taxes. Gassert added, the issue of over-valuation (and therefore over-taxation) and their subsequent lawsuits reaches back to 2008 in some cases.

Many of these lawsuits are “in the process of being appealed by the various litigants. I have no doubt that this recent ruling will be appealed by the state, and thus, this is not likely the end of the story.”

A potential impact of the recent ruling could result in a significant refund of the property taxes by the counties and its cities, schools, townships, etc. But, he said, “at this point, we still do not know the final outcomes, only speculations.” In the long term, the Minnesota Tax Court’s ruling “will have an impact of the overall valuation of the county and the various taxing entities.”


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