North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger’s office created the video above explaining what your new property tax statements will look like.
One of the major problems with the property tax is that it’s hugely confusing. It’s all the more confusing now that the Legislature, at the behest of Governor Jack Dalrymple (and former Governor John Hoeven before him), is buying down huge chunks of local spending in the name of “property tax relief.” Lawmakers have often expressed frustration that they don’t get credit for these buy-downs because counties and cities do things to obscure them (like increase valuations, for instance).
The new property tax statements have a specific section to identify the legislature’s property tax relief (or, perhaps more accurately, the amount of money shifted from your property tax bill to your income/sales tax bill).
As the video demonstrates, there is also a three-year comparison for past property taxes paid so that property owners can evaluate the changes in valuations, their tax credits, etc.
Local governments fought these changes to property tax bills at the session last year, no doubt because it’s not helpful to push to keep the blame for property taxes on Bismarck and not local governments.
There are plenty of people who want to get rid of the property tax, but a constitutional amendment on the June 2012 ballot went down in flames. For better or worse, the property tax is here to stay. And if we’re going to have it, at least it could be comprehensible for those who paid it.