North Dakota voters have soundly rejected a ballot measure, which would have made the state the first to abolish property taxes, which critics said would have undermined local governments and increase overall taxes in the state.
NBC Politics notes that the measure, which would have forced lawmakers to find another way to generate $812 million in lost property tax revenues for 2012 alone, was defeated on Tuesday by a vote of 77.5 percent to 22.5 percent, with 70 percent of the precincts reporting.
Jon Godfread, vice president of governmental affairs for the chamber, said in a telephone interview before the polls closed that:
“We would like to see all levels of our taxes go down, spread it across all of our tax streams.”
The New York Times reports that, while the property tax ban failed, state lawmakers said that they understood residents’ frustrations about high taxes, saying that they would tackle concerns about unfair property tax exemptions.
In order to bring the measure to a vote, residents gathered thousands of signatures. As a result, the state’s political leaders say that they will draw up changes in the coming months.
According to NBC Politics, Charlene Nelson, chairwoman of the group that proposed the measure, stated:
“The surplus makes it easy for us to fund whatever revenue might be lost when the measure passes. We will give them a chance. “My guess is they will be unable, unwilling, incapable of reforming this tax because it really is unfixable.”
What do you think about North Dakota’s residents striking down the measure that would have banned property taxes?