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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/13/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Measure on ballot would eliminate property taxes completely

In a state marked by hearty and strong-headed citizens, North Dakota has a daring proposition on their ballots this week. Residents here are considering a measure that abolishes the property tax entirely.

In a state marked by hearty and strong-headed citizens, North Dakota has a daring proposition on their ballots this week. Residents here are considering a measure that abolishes the property tax entirely.

In a state marked by hearty and strong-headed citizens, North Dakota has a daring proposition on their ballots this week. Residents here are considering a measure that abolishes the property tax entirely.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/13/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: North Dakota, property taxes, proposition, election, revolt


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A disparate group of factions within the state have arisen to voice their opposition. The North Dakota Chamber of Commerce and the state's largest public employees' unions are strongly against the proposition. Questions have arisen, such as precisely how lawmakers would make up some $812 million in annual property tax revenue.

Opponents also want to know what effect the change would have on hundreds of other state laws and regulations that allude to the more than century-old property tax.

Polls suggest that voters here overwhelmingly oppose the ballot measure to ban the property tax. However, even if the measure fails, the notion is picking up steam in some Republican circles in other states, including North Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania.

Susan Beehler, one in a group of North Dakotans who have pressed for an amendment to the state's Constitution to end the property tax is prosaic as to why she supports the idea. "I would like to be able to know that my home, no matter what happens to my income or my life, is not going to be taken away from me because I can't pay a tax," she says.

Proponents of the measure say the tax is unpredictable, inconsistent, counter to the concept of property ownership and needless in a state that, thanks in part to wildly successful oil drilling, finds itself in the rare circumstance of carrying budget reserves.

"When did we come to believe that government should get rich and we should get poor?" Beehler adds.

Jim Cox, a state representative in Pennsylvania who has proposed legislation to eliminate the school property tax in the state agrees. "No tax should have the power to leave you homeless," he said. He notes that such taxes have led to residents' losing homes to sheriff's sales, entering into reverse mortgages or simply moving away.

North Dakota, while it remains sparsely populated -- 48th in population among the states - remains a logical place for such a movement to brew. The surge in oil production over the past five years has seen its effects ripple through other parts of life here. The state's coffers are full, and assessments of home values have risen drastically as well.

Those who want to keep the property tax have vastly outraised the opponents, gathering more than $500,000, campaign finance reports show. Though the question is among four on ballots here on Tuesday, residents here said they had been overwhelmed with information about the property tax measure, on signs, in radio talk shows and through months of debates in school gymnasiums and recreation halls in small towns like Edgeley and Bowman.

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