Published May 11 2013
Forum editorial: Property tax relief historicIt appears that the cabal opposed to North Dakota’s local property tax system will not be satisfied until the tax is abolished. The measure they put on the ballot in 2012 was body-checked by voters, but that reality has not deterred them from renewing the tilt at the windmill.
Their effort is peculiarly obtuse in that property tax relief passed by the 2013 Legislature was historic. Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed legislation that cuts property taxes by billions:
- More than $850 million in direct property tax cuts for the current biennium via a new K-12 state funding formula and a state-paid tax credit.
- Expansion of the homestead tax credit that more than doubles tax relief for senior citizens on fixed incomes from $8.8 million to
$20 million. Maximum income and asset limits were raised, including the value of taxpayers’ homes, further cutting tax liability.
- Expansion of the homestead tax credit for disabled veterans from
$4.2 million to $7.7 million, an 83 percent increase.
All that was accomplished this year. Most will click into effect with the next round of local tax statements. And since 2009, property and other taxes have been reduced by a whopping $2.4 billion, a change unprecedented in the state’s history. They are substantive cuts that make a real difference in tax bills.
Apparently it’s not good enough for the anti-property tax crusaders. Their 2012 measure to abolish the property tax was pummeled by voters, in part because legislators and others pledged to reduce property taxes. Lawmakers and the governor did precisely that in a big way.
However, if the ultimate goal is to abolish the local property tax – a myopic ideological quest not a fiscally responsible plan – then no amount of tax relief will deter the anti-tax crowd from its agenda. Voters saw through that foolishness once, and should a similar measure reach the ballot, they’ll see through it again.
Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.