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Trying to Make "Cents" of the State's Tax Distribution

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 By Debbie Aasen/Eric Mack, Contact
March 12, 2007

Charles Linderman doesn't mind paying taxes. Like most North Dakotans, the Carrington farmer knows the money's needed to pay for roads, law enforcement and schools. But it's the way the state distributes those taxes that upsets him. Linderman was among hundreds of people across the state talking taxes this weekend, at hearings sponsored by North Dakota House and Senate Minority Leaders. Linderman, who made his comments at the Bismarck forum, says the state puts an unfair burden on property owners.

"More and more of the burden is being shifted away from income tax and sales tax -- mostly away from income tax onto property tax, which is a regressive tax. The income tax is more of a progressive tax based on the ability to pay, and even our sales tax in North Dakota with the exemptions and everything that go with it, is sort of related to the ability to pay."

And while the state continues to pull back its share of funding education, some state lawmakers want to cap local government spending. Linderman says that's a bad move, and that we need to trust the local leaders we elected.

"You know, I don't blame my local government. I think my local government is run efficiently. It's just a matter of how are we going to pay for it."

Supporters of the spending cap say they're the best way to control property taxes. Linderman says the state should use income taxes to help cut back on property taxes. Four hearings were held across the state Saturday morning. About 100 people attended the one in Bismarck where Linderman spoke.

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