Juris Curiskis, Minneapolis
North Dakota's Measure 2 is the most significant tax reform proposal in the last 99 years. It is so profound that we can, without reservation, apply the proverbial saying that the taxpayers and the government can have the cake and eat it.
One of the most significant benefits will be that the taxpayers will no longer have to put up their homes as hostages, and the government will no longer have to collect the tax ransom. Instead the taxpayers and the government will have a mutual agreement to support each other in a civilized manner according to each of their abilities.
Another mutual benefit will be that the government will no longer need to hire, and the taxpayers to pay for, an assessor who goes to the taxpayers homes and guesses how wealthy they are. Instead, both the government and the taxpayers agree to measure the taxpayers wealth according to the IRS rules.
We will no longer need appeals boards and tax courts to arbitrate the disputes of wealth between property owners and the assessors. No longer will there be the feeling of animosity between the taxpayers and the local government.
Measure 2 is indeed a profound statement. It restores one of the foundation blocks of this country. It restores our belief in a government that is of the people, by the people and for the people.
But it is very sad to see a coalition named "Keep it local ND" that adamantly opposes the Measure 2 tax reform. It is a coalition of business interests rather than homeowners. The coalition's tax priorities are very different than the homeowner's tax priorities. For the coalition to criticize Measure 2 in order to preserve their business interests and ignore the homeowners interests is very self serving and morally wrong.
The criticism by the coalition is that Measure 2 is not well thought out and does not answer how the local governments will be funded when property taxes are eliminated and that local government control will be lost without property taxes.
On the contrary, Measure 2 is extremely well thought out. It is analogous to a constitutional tree where the government will have tax flexibility to hang future laws to accommodate all levels of government in all fiscal situations of the State. It is guaranteed that the local government revenue stream will always have a capacity that is equal or better than under the present property tax concept.
The North Dakota State Constitution in Article 10, Section 2 states the following: "The power of taxation shall never be surrendered or suspended by any grant or contract to which the state or any county or other municipal corporation shall be a party."
Measure 2 does not take away the Legislature's power to grant local governments taxing power. But it wisely suggests that no new local taxes need to be imposed when North Dakota has a surplus.
Please try to keep this tax reform in proper perspective and acknowledge that it was designed by taxpayers for taxpayers and not designed by government for government. Vote for the taxpayer vote "yes" on Measure 2.