North Dakota Democrats Need To Come Clean On Tax Hypocrisy

North Dakota Democrats want to give renters in the state property tax relief. The thing is, renters don’t pay the property tax.

SB2230, SB2307, and HB1371 – all with Democrats as their prime sponsors – would seek to give renters a tax credit of one form or another. This is being done in the name of property tax relief.

“How can Democrats ignore the impact higher corporate taxation has on the price of goods and services those corporations provide, while simultaneously recognizing that higher property taxes means higher rents?”

But why should renters get property tax relief? “They’ve seen their rents continue to go up in most cities,” Rep. Lois Delmore, a Democrat from Grand Forks, told the Grand Forks Herald (she is the prime sponsor for HB1371). “They haven’t seen any property tax relief.”

One might argue that renters haven’t seen any reduction in their rents because the “property tax relief” passed by the legislature hasn’t necessarily been showing up in people’s property tax statements, but that’s a matter for another post.

What Democrats are tacitly admitting is that renters pay the property tax, indirectly, because that tax is figured into the overhead landlords include when they decide what to charge for rent.

Setting aside what we may think of these bills as policy (I oppose them as I feel our tax code should have fewer, not more, credits and exemptions), this is a remarkable admission from Democrats, albeit a tacit one.

It’s remarkable because Democrats never recognize this fact about taxation when it comes to other forms of taxes. Like, say, the corporate income tax.

Democrats here in North Dakota routinely oppose corporate tax relief, citing the usual liberal objections to “tax relief for big business.” But isn’t it true that corporations, much like landlords, simply pass the expense of taxation on to their customers and even employees?

How can Democrats ignore the impact higher corporate taxation has on the price of goods and services those corporations provide, while simultaneously recognizing that higher property taxes means higher rents?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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