The entire Democratic-NPL House Caucus today voted against a proposed constitutional amendment that would handcuff cities, counties, and school districts, impede delivery of important services and infrastructure improvements throughout the state, and increase sales tax statewide. The measure, HCR 3024, would have placed on the 2024 ballot a proposal to ban the collection of all property taxes in North Dakota and require the state government to reimburse political subdivisions for the lost revenue by raising the state’s sales tax. It was sponsored by Rep. Jeff Hoverson (R-Minot) and backed by former state representative and failed U.S. Senate candidate Rick Becker. In the House Floor debate and his testimony, Rep. Hoverson made the bizarre claim that the 10 Commandments prohibit property tax.
“Bringing down property taxes, especially for working families and seniors on fixed incomes, is a top priority for our caucus,” said Rep. Zac Ista (D-Grand Forks), who serves on the House Finance & Taxation Committee. “But eliminating all property taxes would be a disaster for public schools, local emergency services, and roads and bridges across the state. If this heavy-handed and misguided proposal were adopted, the ultimate result would be forcing the state to substantially increase our sales tax to make up the difference, and we know the burden of higher sales taxes falls squarely on low- and middle-class North Dakotans,” added Rep. Ista.
Democratic-NPL legislators continue to support other proposals to bring down taxes for North Dakota families. Among those proposals are bills to expand the Homestead Tax Credit to offer more property tax relief to low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities, including HB 1211 and SB 2136. “The popular Homestead Property Tax Credit and Renter’s Refund provides targeted tax relief to those most in need,” said House Minority Leader and SB 2136 co-sponsor Josh Boschee (D-Fargo). “This targeted approach is a better way to direct tax relief without shifting the tax burden to other taxpayers or further chipping away at local control,” Rep. Boschee continued.
Democratic-NPL lawmakers have put forward additional bills to bring down taxes for middle-class North Dakota families, including Sen. Merrill Piepkorn’s (D-Fargo) bill to provide an income tax credit to offset local property taxes, Rep. Gretchen Dobervich’s (D-Fargo) bill to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax, and Sen. Kathy Hogan’s (D-Fargo) bill to provide a child care income tax credit. The Republican supermajority blocked Piepkorn’s and Dobervich’s common sense bills; the House Finance & Taxation Committee gave Sen. Hogan’s child care tax credit bill a “do not pass” recommendation on March 13.
“Besides property taxes, the top issue facing North Dakota is tackling the child care crisis,” said Senate Minority Leader Hogan. “Providing a direct income tax credit will provide meaningful relief to families who struggle to afford the high cost of childcare in our state. The legislature should be laser-focused on providing this type of targeted tax relief for the North Dakotans who need it most while making sure the wealthiest individuals and corporations pay their fair share for the services we rely on from the state,” concluded Sen. Hogan.
Eliminating property taxes all together obliterates important funding that keep our communities strong. Democratic-NPL lawmakers will continue to fight for meaningful property tax relief that doesn’t jeopardize funding public schools, fixing our roads, or supporting critical emergency services.