Last year North Dakota debated Measure 2, which would have abolished property taxes in the state if passed. It was defeated after a coalition of special interest groups (lead by the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce) launched a group called “Keep It Local ND” to oppose it.
Their primary argument, obviously, was that by eliminating the property tax we would force local governments to go begging to the state legislature for their funding.
Flash forward almost a year, and we’re at the end of a legislative session which has not only showed a frustrating level of reticence in passing tax relief in general but has also addressed the property tax issue by having the state take over most local education spending.
Meaning the locals are going to have to, you know, go begging to the state for their funding. We’re essentially getting the worst of both worlds. We didn’t eliminate property taxes, but we did manage to eliminate a good chunk of “local control.”
Today I was on the radio with Charlene Nelson of Empower the Taxpayer, the group that put Measure 2 on the ballot last year. As coincidence would have it, I both interviewed Nelson on the Scott Hennen Show and appeared along side her as a gust on the Jay Thomas Show on WDAY.
Obviously, in light of the impending disappointment in this legislature when it comes to tax relief, the question for Nelson and her group is “will we see another Measure 2” (undoubtedly to be called something else if on the ballot again).
Nelson’s answer could best be summed up as “probably.”
Thought out to strike fear in the hearts of Measure 2’s opponents, because their arguments will be significantly weaker this time around.
Remember, we were told we couldn’t eliminate property taxes because of local control. And yet, Governor Jack Dalrymple’s proposed property tax solution took a serious chunk out of local control. We were also told that it was best to let the legislature fix this problem, yet with Governor Dalrymple’s plan likely to amount to little more than an underwhelming $200 year in property tax relief, you can bet that angst over property taxes is going to remain high.
And a lot of voters probably aren’t going to let themselves be fooled twice on this issue.