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House committee looking at a Constitutional Amendment to eliminate local property taxes

A House committee is looking at a proposed state Constitutional amendment that would eliminate the general property tax.

It's HCR 3024.

As a replacement, the state would pick up the spending local property taxes now cover.

Supporters say the state is flush with cash – and could easily afford it. And former Bismarck state Representative Rick Becker told the House Finance and Taxation Committee it would help attract new business and industry to North Dakota.

"We have an opportunity to set ourselves up, by doing something no other state has done, or likely can do," Becker told the Committee. "That makes is able to have this incentive for businesses, and to economically diversify."

Becker said if oil dries up, newer industries would pick up the slack. He also told the Committee this would not mean a loss of local control, because local governing boards would decide how to spend that money.

However, opponents say if passed, this measure would remove local control. Donnell Presky of the Association of Counties told the committee there is a time in the local government budget process where people have a chance to weigh-in on property tax increases, and how the money is being spent. But she said those budget meetings aren’t well-attended.

"I think the reason why we hear so many complaints about property taxes is because it's a bill," Presky told the Committee. "Citizens hear that our state is flush with cash, but they are still reciving a bill. It's the disconnect, that these are local services that they are receiving a bill for."

Presky said when asked which services they would do without, it is tough to get an answer.

The committee did not take action on the amendment. If it passes both the House and the Senate, it would go on the ballot in 2024.

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