Democrat Legislator: Call It Property Tax Reform, Not Property Tax Relief


I guest hosted the Scott Hennen Show today, and had as one of my guests Democrat Assistant House Minority Leader Corey Mock. We talked about how the Democrats in the legislature feel about Dalrymple’s State of the State address, as well as some of their priorities for the session, but the most interesting part of our discussion came near the end when we were talking about Dalrymple’s property tax plan (which Mock says the Democrats largely support).

I asked Mock how a shift in school spending from the local level to the state level is tax relief, given that lots of North Dakotans pay both local and state taxes. We aren’t eliminating the spending. We’re just using different tax dollars to pay for it.

Mock and I couldn’t see eye-to-eye on it during the interview, but what was interesting is that after the interview Mock said he was thinking about our discussion, and he agrees that we really shouldn’t be calling it property tax relief. “Our proposal to lower property tax obligations by increasing the state share of K-12 funding is best described as education and property tax reform,” Mock said in an email to me.

Finally, the truth. We aren’t lowering the burden of government to taxpayers by shifting education funding around. We’re just changing the way we pay for schools, in a way that’s quite contrary to the “Keep It Local ND” argument that convinced voters to vote down a measure abolishing property taxes in June of last year. After all, moving most school funding to the state level isn’t exactly keeping it local.

Here’s the interview.