North Dakota voters crush effort to abolish property taxes
- Article by: MONICA DAVEY
- New York Times
- June 13, 2012 - 10:52 AM
Voters in North Dakota on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional amendment to abolish the property tax, turning aside arguments by advocates of the measure who say the tax has proved inconsistent and is in conflict with the basic concept of property ownership.
The result, with 77 percent voting against the amendment and 23 percent for it, ended those advocates' immediate hopes of making North Dakota the first in the nation to take such a step.
There, a powerful coalition of groups, including business leaders and public workers, strongly opposed the idea and raised significantly more money than the other side to spread a message that ending the property tax would mean chaos in the state capital, Bismarck, an increase in other taxes and an end to most decision making by local city councils and county boards.
Though the property tax ban failed, state lawmakers said they had grasped the depth of residents' frustrations and were all but certain to tackle concerns about unfair property tax exemptions and rising assessments and tax bills.
Residents gathered thousands of signatures to bring the question to the ballot, and the state's political leaders say they plan to draw up changes in the coming months.
On another ballot measure in the state, North Dakotans voted to allow the retirement of a nickname, Fighting Sioux, for sports teams connected to the University of North Dakota, unofficial results showed.
The issue has been a matter of fierce debate in the state for years, as some tried to comply with NCAA policy banning such imagery and others lobbied for the longstanding name as a school tradition.
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