Mike Kueber's Blog

June 12, 2012

Should North Dakota eliminate its property tax?

Filed under: Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 10:06 pm
Tags: , , ,

An article in USA Today reports that voters today in my home state of North Dakota are going to decide whether to eliminate its property tax – so-called Measure 2.  Apparently the state’s economy is so booming that the tax is felt by some (but not the business and political establishment) to be unnecessary. 

North Dakota, like Texas and most other states, uses the property tax to pay for local government – cities, counties, and schools – but the article fails to say where the funding of these government entities will come from.  Instead, the measure simply instructs the state government to pay local governments an equivalent amount of cash.  The state currently gets most of its money from income and sales taxes, so the obvious solution would be to increase those taxes. 

Coincidentally, I blogged earlier today about the Texas GOP’s new platform, which calls for the elimination of the national income tax, property tax, estate tax, and capital-gains tax.  That doesn’t leave many sources of revenue other than a sales tax.  Even if Measure 2 passes, North Dakota will actually have more flexibility than Texas because ND still has an income tax, and Texas doesn’t.  I shudder to think what Texas voters would do if they had the authority to act directly through the Initiative process.  I would bet the family farm that state legislators would no longer have the gold-plated pension that they currently have.

My objection to Measure #2 is that I don’t want the rich to be able to avoid paying taxes, and by placing too much reliance on a sales tax, the rich can control their tax exposure by controlling when and where and what they buy.  By contrast, a property tax, a capital-gains tax, and an estate tax ensure that the rich contribute toward the funding of government as they sit on their estate acquired by some distant ancestor.  I do, however, like that transparency and simplicity of a sales tax.



  1. should they? if they want to, and can, sure. choices, decisions, consequences…

    Comment by Q — June 13, 2012 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  2. […] a long-time fan of shifting from an income tax to a consumption tax, although, as I’ve previously blogged there would be a danger of rich people figuring a way to avoid paying taxes.  Further, as Mitt […]

    Pingback by A sales-tax revival « Mike Kueber's Blog — January 27, 2013 @ 1:59 am | Reply

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