Port: Lawmakers have spent more than $7 billion on ‘property tax relief’ since 2007. Have you felt it?


MINOT, N.D. — “Property tax relief is what the voters are asking for.”

So said Sen. Mark Weber, a Republican from Casselton, on the occasion of his legislative chamber advancing a purported tax relief bill that uses state revenues to try and buy down local property taxes.

This bill is in competition with an income tax proposal currently making its way through the House that also has the backing of Tax Commissioner Brian Kroshus and Gov. Doug Burgum. Critics of that bill say the public wants property tax relief, not income tax relief.

A question lawmakers should ask themselves: Why are voters still asking for property tax relief when the Legislature has spent more than $7 billion on property tax relief schemes since 2007?

If you’re astounded by that figure, you should be. Sen. Weber is right that North Dakotans are still concerned about their property tax bills, but there’s a massive disconnect when lawmakers use that concern to justify implementing more of the sort of policy that hasn’t alleviated those concerns in the past.

Continue reading…