Letter to the editor: Part-time Legislature won’t understand counties’ needsNorth Dakotans hate “Big Government” — outsiders telling them what to do. Why then is Measure 2 even on the ballot?
By: Merne Manor, The Jamestown Sun
North Dakotans hate “Big Government” — outsiders telling them what to do. Why then is Measure 2 even on the ballot?
Measure 2 prohibits local communities from levying property taxes to provide the things their people have decided they need — things like roads, schools, senior centers, fire and police protection, libraries and whatever they think is in their best interest. Instead Measure 2 relies on the Legislature in Bismarck to pay for them.
How realistic is that? Our state Legislature meets once every two years for three months and its members have no research staff or even offices. How then can a Dickinson legislator understand why Jamestown needs funding for flooding when Dickinson need funding for roads overwhelmed by oil trucks? For that matter how can a Fargo legislator understand how vital a senior center is for so many small towns?
Local people, not a part-time Legislature in Bismarck, know what they need. They have always provided it for themselves with local taxes. They learned at their mother’s knee that if “you want something, you pay for it.”
Measure 2 puts that independence in danger, and for what? Unfortunately outsiders owning land and businesses in North Dakota pay 16.7 percent of the property taxes in the state. These outsiders do not care that schools are crowded or that senior centers and libraries have to close for lack of local property tax funds. Nonetheless non-North Dakotans benefit from the roads, fire and police protection that locals have to fund from sales taxes and the like.
Do North Dakotans want to lose control of their lives and pay more while outsiders get off scot-free? Do we want legislators far across the state to decide on matters that critically affect local people? Property tax reform may be a priority but abolishment of property taxes is not the answer.
Vote “no” on Measure 2!