If Measure 2 Opponents Didn’t Lie About The Measure They Wouldn’t Say Anything At All
To hear the coalition of unions, government lobbyists and big business special interests who have come together to oppose abolishing property taxes in North Dakota tell it, they’re being forced to constantly correct a wave of misleading information from Measure 2 supporters.
This from the same people who claim that Measure 2 supporters want to fire all the police officers and let all the prisoners out of jail.
But what’s amazing is just how much misleading information is coming from their side. Case in point, this claim repeated by Grand Forks Herald opinion editor Tom Dennis in a recent column:
The Beacon Hill Institute’s recent study predicts tremendous benefits if North Dakota eliminates property taxes, writes Brett Narloch of the North Dakota Policy Council in a Herald column: “In 2013, private employment would increase more than 13,000, private investment would increase nearly $1 billion, and real disposable income would increase $1,430 per capita.”
But as Grand Forks County State’s Attorney Peter Welte points out (also in a Herald column), there actually are two Beacon Hill reports, and their predictions are very different.
The original report in 2010 looked at three Measure 2 scenarios. In the first, North Dakota does not increase sales taxes at all. Good things happen, including an increase of nearly 12,000 private sector jobs.
But “this is offset by a drop of 11,908 public sector jobs at the state and local governments,” the report notes.
And because the state government employs only 15,500 full-timers, that’s going to be some offset.
I’m not sure where Mr. Dennis got his numbers, but there are actually about 20,000 state-level public sector employees (including higher education), and another roughly 26,000 local government employees.
Dennis’ and the anti-Measure 2 coalition’s number was only off by about 200%.
Dennis, who knows better but is clearly trying to mislead his audience, would have us believe that Measure 2 supporters are talking about getting rid of 75% of the public sector work force. Really, it’s more like 25%.
Which is still a hefty chunk of the public sector in the state, and it’s no doubt why the public sector unions are in cahoots with the big business lobbyists to kill this thing, but it’s just put out as one possibility.
The anti-Measure 2 coalition has done the debate over property taxes a real disservice.Tags: Grand Forks Herald, measure 2, North Dakota News, property taxes, tom dennis