Post Measure 2 Property Tax Debate Seems To Be More Finger Pointing Than Solutions
Earlier this evening I got a call from a Republican legislator who wanted to react to my post about the sudden disappearance of the “Keep It Local ND” coalition from the property tax debate (and I mean literal disappearance, their website and social media presence have all been deleted). This legislator wanted to stress to me that the Republican majority at the legislature is taking this issue seriously, but he also wanted to emphasize that the property tax problems are a local issue.
What’s interesting is that this is the same message another legislator, Rep. Wes Belter, had for Chris Berg tonight.
“One thing I do want to make sure is that people do understand that the property tax is a local issue,” said Belter. “The State of North Dakota does not do the property tax. It’s your local school board, cities, counties. They’re the ones who dictate what your property tax will be.”
Here’s the video:
The locals point their fingers at the legislature, and the legislature points their fingers at the locals. Where does that leave the taxpayers?
I don’t disagree with what these legislators are saying. If we are going to have a property tax, it should be administered at the local level. The problem is that property taxes are a problem – everyone concedes this – but the people directly responsible for the tax refuse to take responsibility for it.
Thus the rapid disappearance of the Keep It Local ND folks from the debate after Measure 2 was defeated.
The other problem with the property tax issue is that the legislature can’t seem to help but cave to demands for tinkering. That’s what Governor John Hoeven and the legislature did during the 2009 legislative session, creating the existing state property tax buy down we have now, and it seems like in 2013 when the legislature meets again they’re all set for another cave in and bailout of local spending problems.
If we’re going to get any movement on real property tax reform, I think it’s going to take the legislature saying “no” to the local government folks.
I’m not sure I believe that will actually happen.Tags: keep it local nd, North Dakota News, property taxes, wes belter