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Letter: ND property taxes rising because oil taxes were cut

Here is the bottom line on property taxes in North Dakota: Property owners will see their property taxes increase at least $114 million over the coming biennium to support tax cuts for out of state oil companies.The proposed 12 percent buydown wo...

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Here is the bottom line on property taxes in North Dakota: Property owners will see their property taxes increase at least $114 million over the coming biennium to support tax cuts for out of state oil companies.

The proposed 12 percent buydown worth $275 million over the coming biennium 2017-19,

was scrapped and instead a smaller bill was passed in its place. This new bill North Dakota Senate Bill 2206 provides $161 million in property tax buy-downs in place of the scrapped 12 percent buydown bill. The difference here is worth $114 million in GOP property tax increases for North Dakota property tax owners.

All of this $114 million in property tax increases for residents and more help pay for GOP tax cuts for out of state oil companies and other oil companies. Property taxes are also likely to increase substantially above this level because of the appreciation of assessed property values in many communities. So this GOP $114 million property tax increase over the next biennium is salt added to a festering wound giving a one-two punch to North Dakota property owners.

Please refer to a letter to The Forum from N.D. Sen. Jim Dotzenrod's, D-Wyndmere, in

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a letter dated Feb. 26, 2016, wrote, "Lowering N.D.'s oil extraction tax was an avoidable mistake." The 6.5 percent extraction tax for oil was approved by N.D. voters in an initiative held back in 1980. The 1987 trigger provisions were obsolete and received virtually unanimous support for changes in the last legislative session. However, Republican apologists fail to mention that the trigger provisions based on the price of oil are a totally separate issue

from the oil extraction tax.

The GOP-controlled legislature lowered the oil extraction tax to 5 percent back in the previous session despite the 1980 statewide public vote. The oil extraction tax provides local impact aid to schools, roads, local government from local oil drilling. To paraphrase here, Dotzenrod said essentially that the reduction of this extraction tax from 6.5 percent to 5 percent costs the state $11 million per month or $132 million annually at a N.D. oil price of $25 per barrel.

So not only are Republican supermajorities ignoring the 1980 statewide ballot by lowering the extraction tax to 5 percent, but are increasing property taxes too for all property owners in the state to give out of state oil companies an expensive tax cut. Don't forget either the completely unnecessary 20 percent cut in the higher education budget too that hurts the state's colleges with layoffs of state employees. Republicans have over $4 billion in reserve accounts but

refuse to spend them to support the needs of the state higher education system. What has decades of single party rule done for North Dakota property tax payers besides give expensive gifts to out of state oil companies?

Remember these GOP facts when paying your much higher property taxes in 2017-18.

Stoutenburg lives in Moorhead.

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