Connie Triplett, Grand Forks, letter: Triplett: Opponent makes unfair claim
GRAND FORKS -- My opponent in the District 18 Senate race has accused me, in a recent mailing to District 18 voters, of voting against significant property tax relief in the 2007 legislative session. In 16 years of running for election in this co...
GRAND FORKS -- My opponent in the District 18 Senate race has accused me, in a recent mailing to District 18 voters, of voting against significant property tax relief in the 2007 legislative session. In 16 years of running for election in this community, I have never resorted to personal attacks against an opponent. I don't intend to do so now, except to say that Andrew Lutz is seriously misinformed on this topic.
Every legislator in 2007 was in favor of property tax reform. We had all gotten the message from voters, and we all agreed that some rebalancing of our tax system was needed. The only questions were, "How much?" and "How to accomplish it?"
The "how much" debate ranged from about $80 million to about $120 million. The bill we ended up with provided an estimated $115 million in tax relief to North Dakota taxpayers.
The "how to accomplish" debate was more difficult. Property tax is essentially a local tax, levied and collected by counties for the benefit of schools, cities, counties, townships, park districts and other local jurisdictions. There was serious and legitimate disagreement among legislators about what mechanism the state should use to deliver property tax relief.
There were more than a dozen separate bills that aimed to deliver property tax relief. I daresay that every member of the Legislature voted against several property tax relief bills throughout the session, but the vote in favor of the final product was nearly unanimous.
During the 2007 session, I was privileged to serve on the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee, which considered all of the property tax relief bills. I was also appointed to serve on the conference committee at the close of the session which wrestled with the final version of the legislation. Our committee met for more than 17 hours over the last weekend before the end of the session to ensure that property tax relief happened.
During the bill signing ceremony for the property tax relief bill, Gov. John Hoeven publicly thanked me for my efforts, along with others on the conference committee, for making property tax relief a reality. Far from opposing property tax relief, I exercised leadership in a bipartisan way to advance this issue. In the next session, my commitment is to work to make property tax relief permanent.
Triplett, a Democrat, represents District 18 in the North Dakota Senate.