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Renters pay property taxes indirectly
November 9, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
News flash: renters do pay property tax, even if it's indirectly.
Most people who rent houses or apartments in northwest North Dakota have seen their rents steadily go up over the past five years. The reasons for those increases probably vary. There has been low supply and high demand, which inevitably drives up market rates. There are enough people in the area who can afford to pay high rents and, so long as there are, landlords will charge high rates. It's too expensive to build low income rental units without some sort of subsidy, so they are also in short supply. And, as my particular rental company says every time they decide to raise the rent, there are also rising expenses. Whenever there's an added expense, whether it be increased property tax or high labor costs, the landlord is most definitely going to pass it along to the consumer.
These are among the reasons why I become irked when I hear comments suggesting that renters don't pay property tax. While I don't directly write a check for property tax, my landlord sure does and every time his taxes go up, so does my rent. Renters have as big a stake as everyone else in whether to approve the various school bond issues that are being proposed. For instance, South Prairie voters will decide whether to approve a $12 million bond issue to build a new high school on Dec. 3, while Minot voters will decide whether to approve a $125 million bond issue for new school construction on Dec. 10. Nedrose voters will likely go to the polls in January or February to decide whether to approve an $18 million bond issue for construction of a new high school.
Supporters of the various bond issues have made a case about the needs of school districts dealing with increased enrollments and the overall benefit to the community of having new school facilities, while opponents fret over costs. It will be up to all of those voters – renters and property owners alike – to decide what they can afford and what their school districts need. But all of them will shoulder some of the costs as well as enjoying any of the benefits.
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