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Politics & Government

Interim committee talks property taxes

An interim Legislative committee is looking at a bill to provide further property tax relief for homeowners. Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports.

John Walstad is an attorney for the Legislative Council. He told the interim Taxation committee the relief would come through a formula similar to the Homestead property tax exemption – and it would exempt up to the first 75-thousand dollars of the assessed valuation of the residence.

"For that amount, the state would pay all of the property taxes levied against that residence,” Walstad told the committee.  He says for homeowners 65 and older, the exemption would run to the first 125-thousand dollars of the value of the house.

The estimated cost of this credit:  $384 million,”  said Walstad.  He says the current formula – which buys down property taxes through the state picking up 70 percent of the cost of local schools – would stay in place, meaning a total property tax break of nearly 800-million dollars.

“The combination of the two programs, obviously, would provide a very substantial amount of of tax relief for residential property,” said Walstad.

But some lawmakers say that new plan for cutting property taxes excludes some major property tax payers.

"Agriculture and farmland, which is close to a fourth of the assessed property valuation in North Dakota won't get any out of this, and nor will any other property," said State Rep. Jerry Kelsh (D-Fullerton). "I think that's inherently wrong."

Other committee members say all types of property should share in tax relief.  The committee has not yet taken action on the bill draft.

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