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Letter: No free lunch for ND taxpayers

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By now every property owner has received their property tax bill from their county treasurer. A lot of property owners saw their tax bills skyrocket. I know of one person who received a 40 percent increase in his property taxes, after the legislative buydown of school district mill levies.

My check for my property tax will be less than last year. But I’m not fooled by this shell game. The governor and our legislators only gave us back some of the money we already paid in to the state. There is no free lunch for any North Dakota taxpayer.

Our last legislative session promised property tax reform. Guess what? They did nothing! Surprise, surprise!

The truth of the matter is the property tax system cannot be reformed, neither do they want to reform it! The buydown of school district mill levies, which is just a Band-Aid for a broken leg, provided a big loop hole for counties to astronomically increase their budgets. All taxing entities have no intentions of cutting spending, just the opposite.

Then they have the nerve to say it’s because taxpayers don’t attend budget meetings. That excuse stinks worse than a dead cow. They know what the mood of the taxpayer is.

I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret. We don’t need the property tax! Not because of oil tax revenues. But because of money that has accumulated in state School Lands trust funds from the sales and leases of school lands. These trusts were established to fund our common schools including our school buildings.

Why don’t they use it? Because both Democrats and Republicans and the special interests they represent want to keep the stranglehold on the people by creating bigger and bigger government, funded through ever-increasing property taxes.

You and I as citizens and taxpayers need to and have the right to demand our state leaders fund public education as mandated by state law. The only way things are going to change is for you and I to take this big bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground and then abolish property taxes.

We don’t need the property tax, or state income tax, and only half of the current sales tax. This can be done by electing more conservative, thoughtful and responsible state legislators.

Ralph Muecke,

Gladstone

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