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

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