Property Taxes Going Up Around North Dakota
Here in my hometown of Minot city officials just approved a big budget increase, paid for by a big property tax increase (lobbied for by the local Chamber of Commerce, among others).
The number of Minot police officers and firefighters will go up next year but so will property taxes under a $168 million budget approved on first reading by the Minot City Council Monday.
The budget includes an additional 31.5 staff positions, including seven police officers and four members of the fire department. The departments have indicated the positions will be filled as four patrol officers, three detectives, an assistant fire chief, fire inspector and two firefighters.
The council split 10-3 in approving the budget, with some members raising concern about taxes. The proposed tax comes to about $412 for each $100,000 of home value, up about $47. Homeowners with valuation increases will see a greater effect from the increase. Also, this is just for the city’s share. School, park and county taxes are additional.
“I am bothered by this budget,” Alderman Dean Frantsvog said. “I am not comfortable with 31 and a half new positions. I think it’s too many. I think we need to phase ourselves into that.”
My home got a big increase in valuation, too, as did a lot of others so the property tax hit is going to be pretty big. Meanwhile, Grand Forks citizens were hit recently with a big property tax increase as well, and in Harvey, ND local radio host Rick Jensen notes that city officials are looking at a 3% hike in property taxes.
All this is happening in the context of the supposed “tax relief” Governor Jack Dalrymple and the legislature passed in the last session. And Governor Dalrymple’s big plan for property tax relief going forward? More of the same that we’ve been doing since John Hoeven was still governor.
The state keeps sending more and more money to the local level in an attempt to buy-down property taxes, and yet local property taxes keep going up and up. Which is a double hit for taxpayers as all that state money going to the locals isn’t really tax relief. It’s spending. So not only are ND taxpayers paying higher local property taxes, they’re also supporting an increased statewide obligation for local spending.
And, again, Dalrymple and other state leaders want to do more of that. Not only that, Dalrymple wants to count the hundreds of millions in “property tax relief” spending the state is already doing as new property tax relief. That $540 million tax relief figure his campaign is throwing around contains about $400 million or so in spending on property tax buy-downs that’s already happening. What he’s asking for is a continuation, not new relief.
To be fair, there are other property tax plans being proposed by the legislature (including one that would take over local school spending supported by the Keep it Local ND backers who opposed abolishing property taxes because that wasn’t “keeping it local,” if you can imagine that hypocrisy) but again these plans mostly consist of obligating the state to more local spending. And, again, that’s not tax relief. That’s turning local spending problems into state spending problems.
The ugly truth – and I know a lot of you don’t want to hear this – is that North Dakotans may well have passed up their best opportunity for property tax relief with Measure 2.Tags: Grand Forks, harvey, jack dalrymple, John Hoeven, minot, North Dakota News, property taxes