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A pheasant sits on the edge of a housing development in Williston, North Dakota. Photo: Susanna Ongstad.

ND Watchdog: Property taxes are going up

North Dakota League of Cities Spokesman Declares That Cities Will Have No Choice But To Raise Property Taxes

Blames legislature even though the legislature never approved a direct buy down of city property taxes, which is a convenient distortion of reality.

Earlier this week, the executive director (Blake Crosby) of the North Dakota League of Cities appeared on a Fargo radio station to talk about property taxes, and to warn the public that city property taxes will be going up.

In the 10 minute radio segment Mr. Crosby declared that the legislature neglected to provide an “exit strategy” as Governor Burgum suggested early in his term.

The legislature of course considers its take over of the county social services as part of the exit strategy, even though that only counts for half of the removal of the 12% property tax credit which is going away.

The jist of the audio segment is that Mr. Crosby says city property taxes will automatically go up. This is false since local officials have the ability to reduce mill levies when values go up, but they don’t want to do that because they want that automatic tax increase.

Ironically, Mr. Crosby gets one thing right by saying the state should never have gotten into the property tax business. Of course the only reason the state ever did was because local government and local elected officials blamed the state for local property taxes.

Local voters must understand that local elected officials control the property tax situation. They simultaneously want to blame the state, but not have the state interfere with their decisions.

They cannot have it both ways.

Local involvement is the only answer to property taxes. If you let you local officials get away with it, that is how it will be.

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