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Lawmaker: ND nonprofits should pay property taxes

Churches, hospitals and nonprofit groups should help pay for police and fire protection.

That's the objective of a bill introduced in the North Dakota Legislature by Bismarck Rep. George Keiser (KY'-zur). It would let local governments assess property taxes on nonprofit organizations to help cover the cost of emergency services.

Under current law local governments can't tax the property of nonprofits.

Keiser says the city of Bismarck is spending $17.1 million on public safety this year, and the city expects to collect only $14.9 million in property taxes.

The city has two large hospitals, and state government property in Bismarck also is exempt.

North Dakota Healthcare Association President Chip Thomas says the property tax bill would fall unfairly on hospitals.

Keiser's bill would apply to a number of nonprofit organizations, including hospitals and nursing homes, fraternal lodges, college dormitories and Greek houses, group homes and North Dakota National Guard armories.