Ending North Dakota’s Property Taxes Discussed On Fox Business
Charlene Nelson of Empower the Taxpayer appeared on Fox News Business with Stuart Varney to discuss the constitutional measure that will be on the June ballot here in North Dakota to end property taxes.
It’s a short interview, but in it Nelson makes what I consider to be the most powerful argument against the property tax. How ever difficult it may be to move away from the property tax administratively – and I’ll not deny that it would be a headache in a lot of ways – there’s no denying that the tax victimizes citizens every single year.
As Nelson notes, the property tax isn’t based on any ability to pay. The income tax is based on income, so if you make less you pay less. The sales tax applies only to what you buy, and often has exemptions for necessities like food and clothing. Other taxes amount to use fees, and are paid only when you engage in a certain activity. But the property tax forces you to pay simply for having property.
If you get sick or lose your job, you still have to pay. If you retire and you’re on a fixed income it doesn’t matter. You still have to pay. One of North Dakota’s legislators, Rep. Raeann Kelsch, got a lesson in just how cruel the property tax can be earlier this year when it was revealed on this blog that she had three years of unpaid property taxes and was close to having her home seized and sold by the state to pay them. It turned out that Rep. Kelsch’s husband had been sick, leading to some financial difficulties, but who among us thinks it is ok to add to those difficulties by piling on the risk of losing one’s home?
And then there’s the question of ownership. Our government was founded upon certain notions about life, liberty and property (those espoused by John Locke most notably), and here in North Dakota where making a living from the land is at the heart of our most important industries we adhere to those notions more fiercely than perhaps other places in the country. So how can we stand for a tax that essentially makes us all tenants, on our own land, to the government?
If you do not pay the property tax, the government will take your property. For this reason alone the property tax should be abolished. Add in that it is a terribly inefficient sort of tax, expensive to administer, and the fact that North Dakota is in a unique, once-in-a-lifetime position fiscal situation that could be leveraged to do away with this offensive tax and you begin to wonder what good arguments there are to do nothing?
Yes, it would be a difficult change over. But why not leverage North Dakota’s current time of prosperity to do something radical for the good of the state long term?Tags: charlene nelson, empower the taxpayer, North Dakota News, property taxes