Thursday, November 10, 2011


If you happened to see Monday's Forum editorial, you might be a little surprised to see what the editors think of us and the measure.  Well, not too surprised, I hope.  After all, the Forum is not known for taking the forward-thinking view on political issues.  They love the status quo, hanging on to it and the power brokers as if it were a lifeline.

So let's look at what the Forum had to say: referring to the State Attorney General's recent ruling that the measure, if passed at the June 2012 election, will take effect retroactively to January 1, 2012 the editorial says: “[T]he Attorney General has ruled that cities, counties, parks and school boards will have to refund all that tax money that they collected in the first half of 2012.”

News Flash: the property taxes collected in 2012 are taxes levied in 2011, billed in 2011 and therefore not affected by passage of Measure 2. That's correct, our brilliant editors at the Forum apparently are ignorant of the the fact that property taxes are collected in the year after they are billed to the taxpayer. No one has to refund anything.

Second news flash: The Attorney General did not say one single word about refunding taxes collected in 2012. Read the AG's opinion and judge for yourselves if this editorial was misleading:

Did you read it?  Does it say anything about refunding money?  No.  Why?  Refer back to News Flash #1.  There's nothing to refund because the taxes paid in 2012 are billed in 2011 and not affected by the measure.

Here's what the Attorney General DID say: “There may be difficulties and problems created by the effective date” but that “it is within the purview of the Legislative Assembly and the Governor to pass contingency plans, if necessary in a special legislative session.”  I'll repeat it for emphasis.  He said: “There may be difficulties” (emphasis mine) created by the measure's retroactive effective date, but if there are, it is up to the legislature to pass contingency plans, if necessary.

We applaud the Attorney General's ruling because it gives meaningful and immediate tax relief to the citizens of this state. A January 2012 effective date means that our state and the people of this state can immediately start to build a new, more vibrant and diverse economy, freed from the unreasonable and capricious property tax.

Don't be fooled by those who are scared of change.  Be informed.  Know and understand the issue for yourself. That's why we have published a book detailing the impacts and realities of property tax. In addition, we commissioned a dynamic econometric study by the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI), a respected economic think tank that North Dakota's Commerce Department has consulted in the past. This study identifies the fiscal and economic impact that abolishing property taxes will have on the state.  If you haven't already read the BHI study, click the link on the side and find out for yourself what will happen when we abolish property taxes. Decide for yourselves if there is anything to be scared of in this measure.

The Forum doesn't think you are capable of understanding this issue and so they will spoon feed you the opinions you should have.  We think better of you.  We don't expect you to take our word alone.  We invite you to read and study all sides of the issue.  We believe that a well-informed public will come to the right decisions.

Without a shred of fact to back them up (and even throwing in a few “made up” facts), the Forum editors have called the nearly 30,000 North Dakota voters who got this measure on the ballot “dumb and dumber” for their efforts. After seeing the Forum misquote the Attorney General, calling 30,000 citizens dumb, failing to identify a single fact, issue or reason to oppose Measure 2, we have to wonder, who really is dumb and dumber?

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