Dickinson Mayor Scott Decker Nails it on the Property Tax Issue

Five years after Empower the Taxpayer’s failed attempt to abolish property taxes through an initiated measure in North Dakota, the issue is once again a hot topic across the state. A fact that proves what Empower the Taxpayer said all along leading up to the vote… property taxes cannot be fixed. They are inherently broken.

While acknowledging this fact, it is refreshing to hear the recent comments from Dickinson’s Mayor Scott Decker on the issue. Decker’s comments to the Dickinson Press cut to the heart of the fundamental problem with property taxes:

“I’m not a fan of property taxes. What I don’t like about property taxes is you can work your whole life and pay off your home and you don’t really own it. If you miss paying your tax payment someone else could own your home , if it was up to me I would get rid of them all together.” (Emphasis Added)

In 2012 many legislators practically begged for the opportunity to “fix” property taxes. Only to find in 2017 that legislators were scrambling to “get out of the property tax business”. Why? Because the so-called “buy downs” that the Legislature had been funding were declared “unsustainable”.

With the Legislature making the buy downs a thing of the past, property owners across the state will now see how local governments respond. All signs seem to be pointing to significant increases in property tax bills. An unwelcome event in a state that is currently suffering from the effects of slumping agricultural and oil prices.

We could spend all kinds of time quoting numbers past and present to illustrate the problematic increases many North Dakotans seem destined to face. But at the end of the day, those facts and figures really miss the fundamental problem with property taxes– so long as property taxes exist we never truly own our homes, we just rent them from the government.

When I came to realize this fundamental point many years ago, no other point mattered as much anymore. It is simply immoral to put someone’s home in jeopardy by taxing their property.

Now, of course, someone will inevitably say, “What about our schools, police departments, etc.?” To that I say, must we really pick on property owners to fund those things? The answer is unequivocally, “No!” There are other answers and means available to fund necessary services.

It is past time we do what Mayor Decker said he would like to do with property taxes. We need to “get rid of them all together”. It is the only acceptable solution to the immoral and unnecessary problem we call property taxes.


1. http://www.thedickinsonpress.com/news/local/4287023-mayor-favors-increase-sales-tax-instead-property-taxes

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About T. Arthur Mason 878 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.