6-11-12 BISMARCK, N.D. — Since Californians shrank their property taxes more than three decades ago by passing Proposition 13, people around the nation have echoed their dismay over such levies, putting forth plans to even them, simplify them, cap them, slash them.
In an election here on Tuesday, residents of North Dakota will consider a measure that reaches far beyond any of that — one that abolishes the property tax entirely.
“I would like to be able to know that my home, no matter what happens to my income or my life, is not going to be taken away from me because I can’t pay a tax,” said Susan Beehler, one in a group of North Dakotans who have pressed for an amendment to the state’s Constitution to end the property tax. They argue that the tax is unpredictable, inconsistent, counter to the concept of property ownership and needless in a state that, thanks in part to wildly successful oil drilling, finds itself in the rare circumstance of carrying budget reserves.
“When,” Ms. Beehler asked, “did we come to believe that government should get rich and we should get poor?”
Polls conducted last month and last week suggest that voters here overwhelmingly oppose the ballot measure to ban the property tax.
Still, even if the measure here fails on Tuesday, the notion is picking up steam in some Republican circles in other states, including North Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania.
“No tax should have the power to leave you homeless,” said Jim Cox, a state representative in Pennsylvania who has proposed legislation to eliminate the school property tax in the state where, he said, such taxes have led to residents’ losing homes to sheriff’s sales, entering into reverse mortgages or simply moving away.
More at New York Times June 11 2012