Glen Johnson, Berthold
Much of the attention of the amendment to eliminate property tax has been directed to the loss of local control of tax dollars a serious issue worthy of much attention.
But, consider the loss of state and local revenues if property taxes are eliminated. It is not just the property tax on personal residence but on all property, much of which is owned by out-of-state owners. That would include out-of-state owners of agricultural land who would no longer be contributing to the state revenue. Much of the state and local government revenue comes from property tax on railroads, ie. Burlington Northern and Canadian Pacific, property owned by out of state corporations like Cargill, Haliburton, hotel chains, shopping malls and banks.
When those revenues are lost they would have to be replaced by huge increases in the other tax means available in the state, primarily income tax and sales tax. The property tax now paid by large corporations and individuals with significant property holdings would be shifted to the middle income tax paying North Dakota residents.
But, not all beneficiaries would be absentee landowners or large corporations. There are resident businessmen like our Rep. Rick Berg, who has a reported net worth of about $33 million with much of that as investment in real estate, or some farmers, not to be associated with that kind of personal wealth, but have amassed a large amount of owned farmland. Measure 2 would eliminate their taxes and be transferred to sales or income tax to be paid by the average North Dakota resident.