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Port: Don’t let local property tax hikes be automatic

“City property taxes are going to go up.”

That’s what Blake Crosby, executive director of the North Dakota League of Cities, told me during a radio interview this week. His argument is that lawmakers dabbled in property tax policy, implementing buy downs of local property taxes funded by statewide surpluses, but did so without an “exit strategy” for when all that extra money dried up.

There’s truth in that, but why should the state’s budget problems mean automatic property tax increases locally? Is it not fair, given the major post-oil boom budget correction the state just went through, that we expect the same sort of reform locally?

When Mr. Crosby says taxes are going up, does it mean they have to go up? Or that local leaders are going to use the state budget situation as an excuse to raise taxes?

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