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IN THE MAIL: Plan boosts property tax relief

BISMARCK -- In the 2007 legislative session, for the first time in state history, we enacted a $120 million property tax relief plan for homeowners, businesses and farmers in North Dakota. The same plan expanded our Homestead Tax Credit for senio...

BISMARCK -- In the 2007 legislative session, for the first time in state history, we enacted a $120 million property tax relief plan for homeowners, businesses and farmers in North Dakota. The same plan expanded our Homestead Tax Credit for seniors and people with disabilities and reduced the marriage tax penalty in the state income tax.

More than 154,000 North Dakotans to date have seen their property taxes reduced by 10 percent, and an additional 27,000 citizens received credits toward future property taxes.

Now, we plan to implement an even larger, simpler and more inclusive $300 million initiative that will reduce the burden of property taxes for all of our citizens, including our seniors, veterans, farmers and small businesses.

Our new Education Funding Reform and Property Tax Relief Plan provides $200 million for a direct, dollar-for-dollar reduction in local property taxes, as well as $100 million more to improve teacher salaries and the quality of education for North Dakota students, pending the recommendations of the Governor's Commission on Education Improvement.

These funds become an ongoing part of the regular per-student payment distributed through the school aid formula, bringing the state share of the cost of education to 66 percent and reducing the local property tax.

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By devoting state dollars to reduce mill levies and enhancing the state's share of the cost of K-12 education, we are directly reducing the property tax burden carried by local taxpayers.

We have worked hard to build a diversified, growing economy across our state, which is ultimately what makes real property tax relief like this possible. In previous eras, we simply lacked the financial resources to do so. Now, because of our aggressive economic development efforts, we can do more for children, more for seniors and more for veterans, while not just holding the line on taxes but reducing them substantially.

John Hoeven

Hoeven is governor of North Dakota.

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