Sunday, March 11, 2012

Announcing Our New Website!


I am pleased to announce our new website for promoting Measure 2. We have 2 new URLS: is short and easy to remember and type, so prefer that one and tell all your friends about it. All URLs, including the original, will take you to the same main page.

This site will remain here, but will no longer be updated. 

New Website Features

Look at the some of the great features of our new website:
  • Videos and audio podcasts
  • Our book, The Property Tax Revolution, available in hard copy and 2 ebook formats
  • Links to studies and state documents that explain M2 and how important it is
  • A chance to win a collector's edition of Monopoly
  • A great discussion forum—your chance to share, discuss and debate
  • Downloads (coming very soon!)
  • and much more, so keep checking and stay tuned!
Also, please visit (and remember to Like) and post to our new Facebook page: 

A Call To Arms!

We have some great tools in place for getting the word out about Measure 2 and now we NEED your help. If you want to see property tax eliminated in North Dakota or want to see the Property Tax Revolution come to your state we need you to do the following:
  1. Tell everyone on your email list, friends and family about our website:
  2. Sign up on our website forum and/or subscribe to our Facebook page to receive updates
  3. Buy our book - gain indepth knowledge while supporting our efforts
  4. Like our Facebook page:
  5. Subscribe to our YouTube channel: (More videos are on the way. You won't want to miss them.)
  6. Donate, DONATE! Any amount, $5, $50, $500, will help us win Measure 2 on June 12th!
To be included in our mailing list for future updates, please send us a brief email to, and you'll be added pronto!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Payment in Lieu of Taxes

There have been a lot of questions about how M2 will affect Payment in Lieu of [Property] Taxes (PILT.) The concern is that since much of our state's surplus comes from oil and gas revenues that M2 will put an end to those revenues. This is simply not true.

John Walstad, legal council for the State Legislature wrote a memo that was introduced into the legislative record in November 2011 where he addresses this very question. You can read the entire memo here: HERE. If you want to skip all the legalese and get to the core of the question, go to the bottom of the first column on Page 4: Effect of Measure No. 2 on Existing Tax Type where he begins to explain that a PILT that is based on property value is eliminated, but PILT that is based on something else (i.e. production value, services rendered, etc) is not affected by M2. Then go to Page 5 and scroll through the list of PILTs--mobile home tax, coal conversion tax, transmission line tax and--yes--gas and oil taxes. A few of those will be eliminated because they are based on land value. But the majority of those taxes--including gas and oil--will not be affected by passage of M2.

This isn't us saying this, this is the Legislature's own legal council who says this.

You can breath easier now.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Best Answer Yet to Lloyd Omdahl

GRAND FORKS — Those confounded local government finances! I like Herald columnist Lloyd Omdahl, and if his opposition to Measure 2 wasn’t so unhealthy for North Dakota’s future economy, I’d find it amusing (“Measure 2 confounds local government finances,” Page A4, Feb. 13).

Omdahl warns that “more and more local officials are becoming alarmed over the impact of Measure 2.” (The measure would completely eliminate North Dakota property taxes this year, then replace the funding with other forms of state revenue.)

But which impact is he talking about? Is it the impact of being able to make improvements to your home without being penalized by higher taxes? Is it the impact of increased revenue to the state through the businesses that will expand or relocate here because we’ll have no property taxes?

Is it the impact of knowing that once those companies set up shop, more students who graduate from UND and North Dakota State University actually will be able to find good jobs in North Dakota?

Or, is it the impact that no matter what happens to the income of your parents or grandparents, they’ll be able live out their lives in their paid-off home, without the fear of losing that home to the government due to nonpayment of property-tax “rent”?

Which impact is it? Personally, I kind of like the sound of those impacts, don’t you?...

Omdahl’s column actually argues for protecting “the uniqueness of local governments.” What? How about protecting the widow, the elderly and people on fixed incomes, who have to sell their homes because they can’t afford the property taxes any more? That happens to hundreds of North Dakota families every year.

If we have become a state that has more compassion for protecting “the uniqueness of local governments” than we do for protecting a man’s home from government confiscation, we are in deep trouble.

Read the entire letter and community comments HERE

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Is Keep it Local Really Local?

Two-thirds of the budget for the anti-M2 group calling themselves "Keep It Local" comes from the National Education Association. That's right the national teacher's union has contributed $35,000 to KIL's campaign treasury. What do you think about a national union influencing our tax system?

Financial Disclosure

What's Wrong with Commissioner Fong's Presentation?

Some may think it's a little presumptuous of us to ask elected officials, especially Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, to stop lying. What's wrong with what Mr. Fong is saying? Well, judge for yourself. Here is the power-point presentation that Mr. Fong is giving to groups around the state:
Impact of Property Taxes

And here's the Tax Commissioner's 2010 Overview of Taxes:
ND Red Book

You'll need to place these two reports side by side. When Mr. Fong's presentation says there are three sources of revenue for the state (three-legged stool) look at page 2 of the Red Book. How many revenue sources are listed there?

Mr. Fong also gives 2010 numbers for those taxes. Do those numbers match up with what's in the Red Book? Well, they're kind of close, so maybe there are some tricky accounting things he uses that would explain those differences. Or maybe they are typos. But the number he gives for the 2010 Property Taxes are clearly NOT 2010 taxes.

Look at Page 90 of the Red Book and you'll see how the numbers simply don't match up. In fact, Mr. Fong is off by over 20%. Then using inflated PT numbers Mr. Fong says that PT makes up 37% of state revenues. And using those inflated numbers Mr. Fong says that sales tax will have to be doubled and income tax will go up 279%.

Mr. Fong says that school funding (which is where 45% of the PT goes) will be replaced by oil revenues. I'm not sure why he assumes this will happen, but well, OK. Let's say oil revenues do indeed fund K-12. So why, then, do sales taxes need to double if half of the PT expenses are being paid for by oil revenues?

Remember that Mr. Fong is only the tax commissioner. He does not decide tax policy. there is reason to assume that these taxes will need to be increased as a result of eliminating PT. The Legislature could decide to cut out the pork. They could decide to take more from gaming or lottery taxes, coal or liquor taxes. They could decide to fund the whole thing with oil revenues--heaven knows there's more than enough! There is simply no justification for Mr. Fong to assert that these taxes WILL go up.

From top to bottom Mr. Fong's presentation is filled with error and assumptions that are a shame to someone who is supposed to report facts and usable information to the voters of this state. We are asking him, along with all elected officials, to contribute to the debate with reliable, honest information, not scare tactics and misinformation.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012