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Leon L. Mallberg, Published December 16 2013

Letter: Common sense hard to find in ND property tax debacle

The state’s daily papers all had headlines or related stories on the Task Force on Property Tax Reform appointed by the governor. One of the quotes was from tax commissioner in waiting, Ryan Rauschenberger. In that quote he relates “just how much the state is paying on everyone’s property tax bill.”

Whoa – time out – the state doesn’t pay anything. It only sucks it in from several areas and blows it out in another areas. It doesn’t earn or pay anything. Now if the new tax commissioner doesn’t have any better understanding than that, we’ve got the wrong man for the job. All revenues are paid by the taxpayers, and the state government is not one of them. All they do is move it around a little. The money they’re “paying us” with is our own money. We are not the dunderheads the governor and tax commission seem to imply or take for granted that we are.

In a related issue, my home county notified me that there would be a 7 percent increase in property taxes at the county level (at the same time the county school district wanted a 10 percent increase in property taxes). This is after the reported “legislative tax relief” of the last Legislature.

I proceeded to go to the county meeting to find out what was going on. I was told the county needed approximately $250,000 it didn’t have. My question was “for what?” After a little tap dancing and throat clearing, I was told that they needed to match money from the DOT in the amount of 10 percent of

$2.7 million. It had to be spent for major infrastructure and could not be used for road repair, graveling, grade raising, culverts, filling potholes or rip-rap to control erosion.

So the plan was to pave 4½ miles of county road with all $3 million. Now with the kind of farm semi trucks that run over county roads with a normal standard paving of a 4-inch pad, that county road may last less than two years. On top of that, it would seem that the DOT is blackmailing me and other county taxpayer through the county commissioners for an additional $250,000 to get our own money back.

My only question is, “Where has common sense gone?”

Mallberg is from Dickinson, N.D.