Since When Is It Ok For The Government To Force People Out Of Their Homes?


One of the most powerful arguments in favor of Measure 2, which would abolish property taxes in North Dakota, is the idea that with property taxes in place we never really own our homes. Even after paying off our mortgages, the government expects that property taxes be paid. And if you stop paying them, perhaps because you got sick or you lost your job, they can take your home and force you out onto the curb.

If you have to make what amounts to rent payments to the government, facing eviction if you don’t pay, how can anyone say they own their property?

But the coalition of labor unions and big-government special interests who have come together to oppose Measure 2 want you to know that this is all rubbish. The AARP, specifically, reports that only eight people were kicked out of their homes in North Dakota in 2010, and that’s ok because none of them were elderly.

This is one of the most crassly insensitive things I’ve ever read.

On June 12, North Dakotans will choose whether to change the State Constitution, locking in a tax policy that replaces property taxes with an undetermined formula to be devised by the State Legislature. Proponents of the measure argue that eliminating property taxes is the only way to protect homeowners – particularly the elderly on fixed incomes – from being evicted by the government for non-payment of taxes.

In response to this oft-repeated claim, the North Dakota Association of Counties surveyed County Auditors to get the facts about foreclosures. What they learned is that foreclosures on occupied homes are extraordinarily rare. In 2010, only eight foreclosures statewide involved occupied or recently occupied homes, and none of the occupants were elderly.

It seems to me that one person being forced out of homes they own for non-payment is one too many.

By the way, notice the loophole the Association of Counties and the AARP give themselves in this study. They only count foreclosures on “occupied” homes. That no doubt excludes quite a few homes where the owners, knowing full well they face foreclosure, move out before those proceedings begin.

The property tax is a fundamentally unfair tax. It’s bad for North Dakotans, and the state’s senior citizens specifically, who are the most at-risk.

But the AARP and these other big-government interests care more about the loot than our property.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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