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House passes one tax amendment, kills three others


The House passed one Constitutional amendment dealing with taxation, but killed three others.

Those three dealt with property taxes.

The measure that passed  requires a two-thirds vote of each House of the Legislature to raise taxes, or impose a new tax.

"In this body, we're very reluctant to raise taxes," said the amendment's sponsor, Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck). "That's a great thing. But we don't know what the make-up of this body will be in years to come."

Becker said this is an opportunity to afford some protection against what may be unnecessary tax increases in the future.

Another of Becker's resolutions -- this one dealing with property tax -- did not fare as well. That measure would have eliminated property taxes, except in rare circumstances.

"It's an exciting prospect," Becker argued. "It would really put us on the map, and it would drive business like nothing else you've seen."

But the amendment failed on a 63 to 27 vote.

Another amendment would have ended property taxes on a person's residence.

Rep. Steve Vetter (R-Grand Forks) said 36 states, including North Dakota, do not tax food, and 12 states exempt clothing from tax.

"This resolution would set a precedent, as North Dakota would be the first state to exempt shelter for tax," Vetter told the House.

It, too, failed 65 to 25.

A third measure would have limited the ability to raise property taxes to elected boards, and not appointed boards.  It failed 51 to 39.

The resolutions were HCR 3038, HCR 3041 and HCR 3042, respectively.

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