Not much has been heard about this measure, which would make it easier for legislators to be appointed to state offices during their terms. Currently, legislators cannot be appointed to state offices which have their salaries determined by the Legislature. Measure 1 would change that, allowing lawmakers to be appointed to state positions if the pay wasn't raised more than the general increases to full-time state employees.
Voters rejected a similar measure in 2008, and we see no real need to change the rules now. We agree with supporters that the current law could eliminate some qualified employees simply because they're legislators, but that's a risk we're willing to take and we wonder how often that happens under current laws. Even the possibility of lawmakers using their positions to set themselves up to get the inside track on a state job makes us wary of this measure. We support a "no" vote on?Measure 1.
We've been against Measure 2, which would eliminate property taxes in the state, since the beginning. Nothing has changed our minds.
It's vague, no matter what its supporters say. The measure says the Legislative Assembly must replace lost revenue to all political subdivisions with money from state taxes and other revenue sources. The Legislature would do so by creating a funding formula, although how that would be created isn't spelled out either.
Some $800 million is collected yearly in North Dakota property tax. The members of the Legislature would be responsible for deciding how to replace that money, and how to disperse those funds. We're not comfortable with letting lawmakers from other parts of the state have that much authority in what happens in Ward County and the Minot Public School District. Measure 2 supporters say the state could use oil tax revenue to fund everything. What happens down the road, if Measure 2 is entrenched in the Constitution and the state's oil boom and revenue slows dramatically? If Measure 2 is approved, out-of-state landowners will pay no property tax at all. Someone who owns rental properties would not pay property tax on those properties, but would the owner reduce the rents in his buildings accordingly or keep the money as added profit? We suspect we know the answer to that question.
Yes, there is a need for property tax reform in North Dakota, and lawmakers are working on proposals. Measure 2 is not the answer, and it should be rejected.