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Published January 11, 2012, 10:09 PM

Measure 2 Leaves Many Questions, Few Definite Answers

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - A Grand Forks legislator led an informational meeting Wednesday night on the provisions of Constitutional Measure 2, which would eliminate property taxes in North Dakota.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - A Grand Forks legislator led an informational meeting Wednesday night on the provisions of Constitutional Measure 2, which would eliminate property taxes in North Dakota.

But it seemed there are far more questions than there are answers.

North Dakota voters will decide June 12th if property taxes should be eliminated. If they say "yes," roughly $800 million of funding will disappear.

That would have to be made up by other means.

District 18 Representative Lonny Winrich is part of a special legislative committee studying the provisions and impact of Measure 2.

"There are definitely some problems. There are going to be some major things that need to be dealt with if this measure passes," Winrich said.

Winrich and others anticipate a July special session to deal with those issues, if the voters decide to get rid of their property taxes.

"There are certainly a lot of questions within the committee that I'm working on, and I think there will be a lot of questions once we start getting information about the measure out there," Winrich said.

Winrich hoped to answer some of those questions for local leaders. He didn't have answers for many, leaving some to make their own conclusions.

"And one thing you can count on, if this goes through, all of that local control will be gone, and all of the decisions will be made in that state," District 18 Representative Connie Triplett said.

"This is incredibly regressive. This is going to hurt the working people of this state. This isn't going to hurt the wealthy," Grand Forks City Council President Hal Gershman said.

"I think it's one of the most important measures that we've seen in North Dakota. I don't want to turn it into a discussion or a debate about the merits," Winrich added.

There is a ten page analysis prepared by a staff lawyer of issues raised by the legislature's review committee.

One of the biggest questions is education funding.

The document says oil and gas production and extraction tax, tobacco tax, lottery revenue and financial institution tax should be used to fund elementary and secondary education. But that could still be up to the discretion of the legislature.

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