Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Some opponents of citizen initiative and referendum argue that voters will always opt for tax cuts. I only wish.

Yesterday, North Dakotans decided not to eliminate their state’s property tax. Measure 2 wouldn’t have lowered property taxes, it would have abolished them. Even in a land booming with new-found oil and gas, and a state government surfing in surpluses, a whopping 78 percent of voters weren’t willing to go that far.

Chalk it up to fear — unfounded fear. North Dakota State government is running a surplus bigger than the state’s property tax take.Fighting Sioux

As is too often the case, voters saw a one-sided campaign, with spending by the forces of big government — public employee unions and those extracting financial gain from the political status quo — completely outmatching the resources taxpayers had to get their message out. On Measure 2, the No side outspent the Yes side by more than 26 to 1.

Empower the Taxpayer, led by Bob Hale and Charlene Nelson, made the argument that property taxes are particularly malicious because people can lose their homes and farms if they can’t afford the taxes. That argument did not win the day.

But there will be other days. I often tell the story of a 2002 Arkansas initiative campaign to “ax the food tax.” The measure to end the sales tax on food and medicine was slaughtered at the ballot box. Still, now a decade later, the tax has been reduced from 6 percent to 1.5 percent.

North Dakotans voted to keep the state university’s Fighting Sioux mascot. The Fighting Taxpayers may be around even longer.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. LaVerna Hilbig says:

    I believe this was to be a Constitutional Amendment. I would not have voted for that either. They can reduce/abolish taxes via the legislative process easier and should things have a downturn, could be reinstated much easier.

  2. Rollin L. says:

    Wow, that’s disappointing. As one who has been impacted by high property taxes, this has become a particular pet peeve of mine. It would seem that there are all kinds of alternatives for local governments to raise revenue that does not include the power to confiscate private real property that may even be fully paid off otherwise. The “pursuit of property” was what Jefferson eventually changed to “happiness” if I recall correctly. While that might have meant more than just real estate, it was certainly the foundation of stability for supporting a family’s ability to live. Is it really so different today? Those who rent think property tax is something only those “wealthy” enough to own property have to pay, as if it doesn’t affect the amount of the rent. But the fact is it remains the burden of property owners while the benefits of revenues thus raised benefit everyone. It’s time for a movement to abolish property taxes once and for all. No one should be forced to forever rent their home from the local government even after they have paid off the bank!

  3. Drifter says:

    Taxpayers unable to recognise what’s good for them. Sound like Obama voters…

  4. PAFreedom says:

    It looks like they voted poorly on all counts including the rejection of the state’s mascot:

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