James C. Johnson letter: N.D. property taxes are out of control
The majority of North Dakota citizens are faced with a formidable enemy. This enemy is ever-increasing runaway property taxes (some of the highest in the nation). It is plain to see that if the citizens of North Dakota ever want a fair and equita...
The majority of North Dakota citizens are faced with a formidable enemy. This enemy is ever-increasing runaway property taxes (some of the highest in the nation). It is plain to see that if the citizens of North Dakota ever want a fair and equitable property tax within North Dakota, and at the same time a tax that is competitive with those in our neighboring states, the citizens will have to pull together, engage with and destroy a large portion of our antiquated property tax system.
Some of the laws that govern our property taxes were put in place in 1919. These laws are no longer fair or equitable. And they invite out right tax evasion and fraud.
Some North Dakota homeowners pay very little tax, some pay no tax at all. This leaves the remaining taxpayers carrying an unfair tax load, a load that for some has become an unbearable burden.
Many of our legislators have stated and some have testified that our property tax system is obsolete and should be corrected. But for unknown reasons, the concerned legislators waived a white flag and surrendered to some of the highest homeowner property taxes in the nation.
If a family living in a $150,000 home in Fargo or Bismarck moved to a $150,000 home in St. Cloud, Minn., they would save well over $1,500 per year on property taxes. If they moved to any city in South Dakota, Montana or most cities in the nation, the savings would be substantial. The savings would have been even more if they lived in one of North Dakota's higher taxed cities such as Mandan, Jamestown or Williston.
In the early 1970s, California had a runaway tax problem like North Dakota has today. The citizens worked together and with the assistance of Howard Jarvis, passed a constitutional amendment (prop 13). Prop 13 equalized property taxes for everybody and adjusted taxes to 1 percent of true and full value.
If the people of California could fix the problem, there was no doubt that the people of North Dakota can fight the battle and win the war. It is time to muster the troops. The 1919 tax laws were good in 1919 when Woodrow Wilson was president, but this is 2005 and time for change.
James C. Johnson