Burleigh County Auditor Kevin Glatt has his facts wrong when it comes to the recent increases in Burleigh property taxes.
Glatt blames most of the 10.77 percent increase in Burleigh County property taxes on the Legislature’s decision to end the 12 percent property tax buydown program. What Glatt failed to mention is that the Legislature also increased K-12 education funding for Burleigh County schools by $1.9 million and increased funding for Burleigh County Social Services by $6.8 million.
The net reduction in state property tax relief to Burleigh County political subdivisions was $4.2 million or less than 4 percent of all property taxes collected in the county. Clearly, the overwhelming reason for higher Burleigh County property taxes was the increased spending by local governments.
To blame the Legislature for property tax increases is ridiculous. The state does not assess, collect or spend property taxes, but we have sent over $4 billion in property tax relief to local government since 2009.
A better analysis would be to contrast what the Legislature did when our state revenues declined to the actions of our local governments. The state cut spending, did not raise taxes and we encourage our local government entities to do the same or, at the very least, not try to shift the blame to the Legislature to hide their own local spending decisions.
Mike Nathe, Bismarck