Proponents of last year’s failed Measure 2 felt wronged after a district court judge ordered them to pay attorney fees and issue a retraction over their claims that public officials acted corruptly when speaking out against the measure.
A constitutional measure that would have made North Dakota the first state in the nation to abolish property taxes went down in flames Tuesday, with about 77 percent of the more than 172,000 primary voters soundly saying “No” to Measure 2. But Sen. Dwight Cook, R-Mandan, said the Legislature has worked to reform property taxes for years, an effort that will continue — and lawmakers already have several plans that could lower tax bills — despite what happened in voting booths across the state.
North Dakota’s property tax revolt fizzled at the polls in primary election returns Tuesday night. Measure 2, which sought to eliminate property taxes, was defeated with 76.55 percent rejecting the proposal and 23.45 percent favoring, as of Wednesday morning. Those results are with all 426 of the state's precincts reporting.
As election results rolled in Tuesday night, Grand Forks residents gathered to celebrate victories and mourn losses. One of the more melancholy groups included supporters of the Fighting Sioux nickname. Those in favor of keeping the name received a blow when complete but unofficial results indicated that Measure 4, which allows the nickname to be retired, would pass.
One of Williston, N.D.’s most visible Measure 2 supporters lives in an RV and has never paid property taxes in the state. But Palmer Reising said just because he’s from Ohio doesn’t mean he and other newcomers to North Dakota are second-class citizens.
Measure 2 jeopardizes the quality and delivery of basic local services. It also dramatically shifts the tax burden, providing a windfall to out-of-state property owners who now pay 17 percent of all property taxes and would pay nothing if Measure 2 passes.
Measure 2, which would eliminate the North Dakota property tax if approved, could be called the $1.6 billion question. That’s the amount of money in a two-year budget that state legislators would have to replace to help fund public schools, cities, counties, townships – in all, 2,100 units of local governments.
Keep It Local North Dakota numbers 90-plus respected organizations from every corner of North Dakota life. Keep It Local North Dakota loudly, strongly and unanimously opposes Measure 2.
That’s not the only reason to vote “no” on Measure 2. But it’s pretty close to reason enough.
If Measure 2 passes, North Dakotans are going to have to live with decisions that should be made locally by city and county commissions, school and park boards being made by a state Legislature that meets for only 80 days every two years.
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