Critics and supporters last week debated a proposed constitutional amendment to abolish property taxes in North Dakota. If approved, it would make the state the only one in the nation to repeal such taxes.
The North Dakota Association of Counties held a hearing on the proposal last week. “This is potentially the most profound policy change since statehood,” one local county commissioner, opposed to the plan, was quoted as saying in local reports.
The measure will go before voters on the June 2012 primary ballot. It proposes eliminating property taxes throughout the state starting in 2012.
It would mean the loss of $775 million annually based on recent collections. The amendment requires the Legislature to replace local government revenue with state tax revenue.
The measure does not address how the state would deal with bonds backed by current property taxes.
The measure comes as North Dakota enjoys the largest and most lucrative oil boom in its history. Taxes and other related revenues from the gas and oil industries have made the state among the most cash-flush in the country.