Sunday, January 29, 2012

Play the Game and Win a Prize!

Let's play our old favorite: How many mistakes can you spot?

Below is the Q&A that the Anti-Measure 2 people are putting out. How many mistakes (errors, incorrect or non-factual statements) can you find in their statement? A free bumper sticker to the person who comes up with the most correct answers. Contest closes Midnight, February 8, 2012.

What is Measure No. 2?
It’s a proposal to amend the North Dakota Constitution to prohibit political subdivisions (cities, counties, school districts, townships, park districts, water districts, irrigation districts, fire protection districts, soil conservation districts, etc.) from levying a tax on the assessed value of property. The proposal will be on the primary election ballot on June 12.

If local services are now funded by property tax, how would those services be funded in the future?
The measure provides that “taxes upon real property which were used before 2012 to fund operations” of political subdivisions must be replaced by state resources.

The measure says taxes on real property used before 2012 to fund operations must be replaced by state resources; does that mean the state-replaced revenue would be frozen at 2011 levels?
The measure requires funding to be determined “according to a formula devised by the legislative assembly.”

Would all local operations be required to be funded?
The measure’s language requires funding of “legally imposed obligations” of political subdivisions.

How are “legally imposed obligations” defined?
The proposed measure does not define this term, nor does state law define this term for political subdivisions.

Would police and fire protection be considered “legally imposed obligations”?________________________________________________________
There is no legal requirement in state law to provide police and fire protections.

Would local control of local budgets be affected?
Funding for political subdivisions would be determined “according to a formula devised by the legislative assembly.”

Would the measure affect special assessments?
Special assessments are based on the benefit to property, not based on the value of property. However, the method of collecting (currently through property tax statements issued by the county) and the method of enforcing (currently through a sale conducted by the county for delinquent taxes) could be affected.

Would the measure affect the limit of public debt?
Currently in state law, the debt limit is five percent of “assessed value of the taxable property.” The measure would change the debt limit to five percent of “the market value of the property.” The public debt limit would increase significantly and market value would have to be determined on all property, including churches, personal property and other property not currently taxed.

When would the proposed measure become effective?
The effective date is January 1, 2012.

If the effective date is January 1, 2012, how would political subdivisions fund local services before the 2013 Legislative Assembly meets?
Either the legislature will have to meet in special session, or the method of funding would be unknown after June 12. The measure specifies funding “according to a formula devised by the legislative assembly.”

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