We had the debate about abolishing property taxes, and voters rejected it

MINOT, N.D. — In District 3, in Minot, a Republican House candidate has floated, as a part of his campaign, an idea to use a surge of state revenues resulting from high oil taxes to bring down everybody’s property taxes by 50%.

It’s a detailed, serious-minded plan from Roscoe Streyle that is worthy of debate and scrutiny.

But in the primary race, Streyle is up against unserious candidates from the Bastiat Caucus wing of the NDGOP’s schism. In response to his proposal, the Grand High Poo-Bah of the Bastiats has countered with an unserious idea North Dakota’s voters have already rejected overwhelmingly.

State Rep. Rick Becker, who isn’t running for re-election, argues, in a letter to the editor submitted to various publications around the state , that Streyle’s plan is a nonstarter because what we really ought to do is eliminate property taxes entirely.

Which is the sort of pie-in-the-sky thinking politicians offer when they know they’ll never really be called on to follow through. Not just because Becker isn’t running for another term, but because his Bastiat Caucus disciples make up a tiny fraction of the Legislature, and thus have the luxury of throwing about brash, simplistic proposals while the grownups go about the more nuanced and difficult work of actually governing.

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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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