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Published March 26, 2012, 08:28 AM

Measure 2 protects property rights

MINNEAPOLIS — Dale Thorenson, who wrote an opinion piece on Measure 2 for Agweek March 12, is a former North Dakota resident who works in Washington, D.C., on farm issues.

By: Juris Curiskis, Agweek

MINNEAPOLIS — Dale Thorenson, who wrote an opinion piece on Measure 2 for Agweek March 12, is a former North Dakota resident who works in Washington, D.C., on farm issues.

His credentials in North Dakota are that he still owns mineral rights on a “stripper” oil well that produced 16 times more income than the property tax was in 2011 on the quarter of land the well sits on. In other words, he is well situated as it relates to property taxes and does not feel the abuse of it as most people do.

His qualifying statement for a no vote on Measure 2 on June 12: “When I first heard about this measure, I thought it was a joke. It has to be the most ill-conceived proposal ever to be put before the voters of North Dakota.”

It is one of the most revealing statements from anybody that illustrates a person’s closed mind and dogmatic thinking.

He did not bother to read about Measure 2. He just arbitrarily adopted another closed-minded opinion. Then, he further illustrates that he has no understanding why Measure 2 is on the ballot in the first place: “So, rather than use the oil money to abolish property taxes — including for those of us who don’t need relief — why not use it to give the broad base of state income-tax payers a break?”

It is alarming that in this day people have such narrow-minded thinking on taxes.

The implication in his above statement is that property taxes are the only means of generating local tax revenue. Such thinking, or rhetoric, is completely wrong. Such misinformation should not be allowed to sway voters’ opinions. He acknowledges that property taxes may be excessive in some jurisdictions and that there are better ways, in his opinion, to provide property tax relief than Measure 2. Again, it illustrates the fact that he does not understand why Measure 2 is on the ballot.

He does not understand that the taxpayers are tired of the government sponsored relief programs and that they want a permanent fix to restore their rights to own property. His implication that Measure 2 will give a “free ride” to nonresidents is specious. I can’t believe that the North Dakota Legislature will not use its power of taxation to collect tax revenue from nonresidents who have property that receive North Dakota government services. A no or yes vote on Measure 2 will have consequences.

Consequences both ways

The voters should know what those consequences are in either case. If no prevails, it means that the residents will continue to pay property taxes and that it is OK for the government to hold homes as hostages for a tax ransom.

If yes prevails, it means that residents will have the right to own their property without the fear that the government may confiscate it. In addition, the residents will have the option to impose, on themselves, taxes as they deem appropriate with the approval from the Legislature.

For Thorenson to promote a no vote on Measure 2 is certainly the most backward thinking in view of the facts presented in Measure 2. It is like someone saying no to using automobiles or airplanes instead of horses for our transportation. Or saying no to using the word processor instead of the typewriter.

But the most disturbing part of his conviction is in his last sentence: “I will be pestering everyone I know back in the state on June 12 to go and vote no on Measure 2.” He is completely oblivious to the concept of freedom. He does not understand that the property tax concept robs our freedom from the rich and poor alike.

Editor’s Note: Curiskis is a former New England, N.D., resident.