Guest Post: How I Came To Support Measure 2
For those unaware, there’s an initiated measure in North Dakota that its people will get to vote on. The measure will decide whether or not to abolish property tax.
To be completely honest, when this first was proposed, I was firmly against the measure. I believed that it would take too much local control away from county and city government. I also believed that banking on the oil and gas revenue, even if only for the short term, was a terrible use of the money coming into the state.
As I’ve given it more thought, there are numerous reasons I would heartily support the measure.
1) Governor Jack Dalrymple’s response: His response to a question about what the state would do if the measure does not pass actually convinced me that the idea had more merit. His response was void of any forethought or regard to what the people of ND felt about property tax and how the local entities were using their money.
2) For the vast majority of North Dakotans, even if fully replaced by other means, the abolition of property tax will benefit them financially. Granted, this is a very selfish approach, but my benefit could be as much as $900 a year even if ND used only income tax to make up the difference, while $3000 a year is the savings I could potentially see if its not replaced.
3) Property tax is inherently regressive, as most people only put so much of their income into property (land & building). Therefore, someone who has already paid $100,000 for their home, would have to pay that much again over the next 33 years, just on the TAX on the property. And that is without any INCREASE in property tax which is always occurring.
4) As a state currently, the money is not needed. With current Oil & Gas Taxes, the property tax would not be needed to meet current obligations. It is against the ND State Constitution to issue checks directly to private citizens, so therefore budget surpluses cannot be redistributed to citizens such as they were in Minnesota during Gov. Ventura. This allows for every resident to enjoy the benefits of the state for Oil and Gas extraction.
5) It allows the state to conduct a grand experiment in regards to property tax. We will see what benefit this would have to economic development statewide. We will see what it does to property values and rent prices. We will see whether or not even more people move into the state because of low taxes, specifically property taxes.
6) Some local entities have abused the power of having an absurd amount of money directly at their beckon call. More debate on how that money and how much money should be spent on local projects is a good thing besides being decided by 5 commissioners on local boards statewide. More transparency in government is a good thing.
7) It could potentially spur even more home building, especially in the oil fields. We could see a boom in housing because, now, the home will not be taxed even if you move away. Once you pay for it, its yours. When it comes to workers in the oil fields, the idea of paying 1/3 of your house bill on taxes is a severe drawback to build your own house. Whereas if you had the cash on hand to build the house, even if you moved away, the cost (maintenance) would be minimal in keeping the house would you not decide to sell the property.
8) Spending at the state and local level has grown enormously and removing funds available will provide some much needed perspective for lawmakers. Currently, the budget is so flush with cash, our lawmakers are in a constant frenzy of how to spend it, even if much of it is needed. Removing a funding mechanism will force our lawmakers to look at what is really needed for the people because it seems that they’ve forgotten that its the people money they are spending.
I hope people seriously consider all the ramifications of this vote, but also consider the possibility of enormous benefits for our state. Just go vote.
Corey Eslinger is a SayAnythingBlog.com reader.Tags: measure 2, North Dakota News, property taxes