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Published May 14, 2012, 08:58 AM

Property tax unfair, complex

GARRISON, N.D. — I am a Measure 2 supporter. I have farmed and ranched all my life in North Dakota.

By: Steve Seidler, Agweek

GARRISON, N.D. — I am a Measure 2 supporter. I have farmed and ranched all my life in North Dakota.

I have served on our township board for more than 15 years and also have served on the Garrison (N.D.) School Board for five years. The thought of local control is a myth. Because of all the laws and regulations we must follow, I have often wondered why we even have boards.

I personally think Measure 2 will give us more local control than we have now, and that’s what upsets all of our leaders in this state. They will say anything to twist the truth. It will give us the power to spend our money on what we think is right. This measure will work.

The state has a surplus of money that can be used to replace property tax. That surplus is estimated at about $2 billion, but some say it might be closer to $5 billion. It’s hard to find an exact number, because money is being funneled into different accounts that hide it from the public. This surplus can be distributed to all the entities that require funding.

Most of the mechanisms to do this already are in place. Nobody will have to go to the legislature to beg for money and nobody will be competing with another township, county, school or community. The only change will be where the funds are coming from, which will be the state, which of course is our tax money.

Property tax is unfair and complex. All of us have had to deal with the unfairness, such as the state raising our property value thus increasing taxes, and for another example, the abatements that some have received, and when we complained to our leaders, nothing got done. So now is our chance to get rid of it.

Measure 2 opponents say that the surplus will not last forever. They may be right or they may be wrong. But that doesn’t matter, because if we eliminate property tax in the state, we will flourish.

It will encourage more business opportunities and create more jobs, so our children and grandchildren will have a place to work. Just look at the $850 million in property tax saving that will be spent in this state. That alone will generate more sales tax and income tax.

I would like to quote North Dakota’s former Gov. Ed Schafer, “If Measure 2 passes, there’s no doubt in my mind that we as a state can fund that without raising sales tax as some contend and without raising income tax as some contend. We have plenty of money to operate.” His full speech can be accessed on the website at www.yesm2.com.

Stay informed

I encourage everybody to get more information on this measure.

Look at the pros and the cons, and then make your own decision. Don’t be persuaded by all the large companies and organizations that oppose it. Most of them are using our tax money to fund themselves, such as the North Dakota Education Association and the North Dakota School Boards Association. I don’t think they represent the average hard-working property taxpaying North Dakotan.

I also would point out that the majority of our elected officials also oppose it, and the reason for that is they know it will give the local people more power than they have. I encourage you to vote yes on Measure 2.

Editor’s Note: Seidler is from Garrison, N.D.

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