Anti-Measure 2 Activists Were Against Keeping It Local Before They Were For It
The unfortunate coalition of crony capitalists, liberal activists and labor unions that formed “Keep It Local ND” to oppose abolishing property taxes in North Dakota is running their first TV ad, and it’s about what you’d expect.
A lot of scaremongering about spending decisions being made in the state legislature instead of by local entities.
The anti-Measure 2 folks are really banking on North Dakotans forgetting what happened in 2008. Property taxes were a big issue then, as they are now. So much so that citizens killed off an income tax cut on the November ballot after being told that income tax cuts would preclude property tax cuts.
But the local entities – most notably KIL ND coalition members like the League of Cities and the Association of Counties – didn’t want a local fix to property taxes. They insisted that the legislature take action. So the legislature did take action, capping property tax rates in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in appropriations to local communities.
In fact, Governor Jack Dalrymple is campaigning on that tax shift, counting it as part of the $500 million in tax relief he mentions in his first television ad.
The “property tax relief” (if you can call more state spending at the local level tax relief) was really half of what Measure 2 is. The State Tax Department estimates that eliminating the property tax will cost the state some $820 million in revenues per year. Of that revenue, the state is already replacing some $200 million every year with appropriations in exchange for capped rates.
All Measure 2 does is take what the local entities have already asked the legislature to do – replace local levels with a state appropriation – and go all the way with it.
This fear mongering about “local control” is nonsense. All the more so because the not-very-well-kept-secret in the Keep It Local circles is that they plan on proposing an end to local funding of schools once Measure 2 is defeated.
It is beyond dispute that North Dakotans want some form of property tax relief. If they pass up the opportunity Measure 2 presents, they will regret it, because far from proposing an alternative sort of relief our state’s leadership will use the defeat of Measure 2 as an excuse to continue avoiding tax relief.Tags: keep it local nd, measure 2, North Dakota News, property taxes