Flush from an oil boom, North Dakota residents were going to the polls Tuesday to decide whether the state should abolish property taxes.
If the measure passes, North Dakota would be the only state not to have a property tax. It would be the first time a state has abandoned a major tax since 1980, when Alaska ditched its income tax, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group.
Supporters of the proposed change in the state Constitution say property tax is unnecessary, since North Dakota has a big budget surplus, and that it violates the very concept of property ownership.
“I would like to be able to know that my home, no matter what happens to my income or my life, is not going to be taken away from me because I can’t pay a tax,” proponent Susan Beehler told The New York Times
“When,” she said, “did we come to believe that government should get rich and we should get poor?”
The state Chamber of Commerce, farm groups, unions and most elected officials argue that property tax, which brings North Dakota about $800 million a year, is necessary to fund schools and local government.
“The property tax is the foundation of local government services," Connie Sprynczynatyk, executive director of the North Dakota League of Cities, told USA Today, "It's the predictable source of revenue to pay for police and fire and other local services in the community where you live."
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