Merne Manor, Fargo
Let's cut out senior centers and meal programs so that out-of-state property owners can enjoy roads, police and fire protection without paying a dime. That's exactly what will happen if the measure to eliminate property taxes passes in June.
What else happens if Measure 2 becomes part of the state constitution? Everyone knows that it will keep senior citizens from losing their homes to property taxes even though seniors are not losing their homes because of tax arrears. Undoubtedly, landlords will pass the taxes they don't pay on to renters 60 percent of Fargo. Parents will be thrilled as legislators in Bismarck decide what their children need for a good education. Just look at how well Minnesota schools fare as legislators balance the budget by withholding mandated school money. Speculators will be happy to snap up land which they can hold without using it but without the expense of property tax. Of course, police and fire protection might get a bit thin with no local taxes, but what do the out-of-state owners of 21 percent of land and 23 percent of businesses care about that?
Of course, they might find it somewhat troublesome that township roads and city streets go to pieces without local tax levies, but they wouldn't have to pay the increased state sales, corporate and income taxes that would be necessary for counties, cities, park districts, townships, and other entities to function. In short, everyone will be relieved that so much of what affects them daily will no longer be in their own hands but rather given to legislators in Bismarck.
Why then are so many organizations uniting against Measure 2? Why are AARP, senior service providers, realty associations, chambers of commerce, builders associations, power cooperatives, education associations, community banks and numerous others uniting to oppose Measure 2? Could it be that what looks like a good idea eliminating a tax is a plan that could hurt North Dakotans while benefitting nonresident property owners?
Maybe North Dakota's special brand of common sense will prevail on June 12 and Measure 2 will be discarded by voters.