Proposed initiated measure would end local property taxes | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Proposed initiated measure would end local property taxes

Mar 3, 2020

An initiated measure is being prepared to eliminate property taxes.

Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck) said next week, a proposed initiated measure will be presented to the Secretary of State’s office, to be put on the November ballot.

In 2012, voters rejected a similar measure. But Becker said things have changed since 2012. He said state taxes are now picking up 80 percent of the cost of K-12 education, as well as the cost of human service programs, and through the “Prairie Dog” infrastructure bill, local costs for roads are bring covered.

Becker said state revenues would replace all local property taxes, but local governments would still have control over how the money is spent.

"Last time, there was a narrative that the state was going to be in charge of the spending, and cities were going to have to come to Bismarck, stand in line with their hands out, asking for money," Becker said. "That's completely untrue."

Becker said the state has a lot of excess revenue, that can easily pay for everything property tax pays for.

Becker said opponents of the 2012 initiative promised property tax relief – and he says that hasn’t happened.

"The one thing that hasn't changed, is that it's the voters' number once complaint," Becker said. "People are sick of property tax, they're sick of not getting relief, especially in light of the revenue the state is taking in. They demand to have something a little bit more than these 'tinkering on the margins' we've been doing."

The measure would be on the November ballot, if enough valid signatures are gathered. Becker said because he expects voter turnout to be very high, he thinks the measure has a good chance of passing.