N. Dakota Could Be a Property Owner's Haven

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North Dakota could be the first state in the country to eliminate property taxes.

Voters will decide on an amendment Tuesday that would change the state's Constitution and ban the annual property tax.

Proponents called the tax "inconsistent, unpredictable, and counter to the concept of property ownership."

They also say, thanks to North Dakota's successful oil fields, the state has plenty of money, which eliminates the need for a property tax.

But the president and chairman of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce and the state's public employees' unions likens the ballot issue to "giving a barber a razor-sharp butcher knife -- and by the way, this barber is blind."

The Chamber of Commerce and other opponents question how lawmakers would make up the nearly $812 million in annual property tax revenue lost and how the change would effect other state laws and regulations linked to the century-old tax.

Recent polls show North Dakota voters will most likely oppose the property tax ban, but other states like North Carolina, Texas, and Pennsylvania are expected to introduce similar measures.

Rep. Jim Cox, R-Pa., said he hopes to eliminate the school property tax in his state.

"No tax should have the power to leave you homeless," he argued.

If the property tax proposal, known as Measure 2, passes, North Dakota would be the first state to eliminate a major tax since similarly oil-rich Alaska got rid of its income tax in 1980, USA Today reported.

Even if the ban fails, North Dakota lawmakers are determined more than ever to tackle broader solutions to the property tax question as early as next year.

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