There’s a revolt of sorts brewing among citizens of a growing number of states who realize that, no matter how much they pay on their mortgage or how long ago they may have paid that mortgage off, they never truly own their homes. Rather, because of the property tax, Americans really just rent their homes from the government.
On Tuesday, North Dakotans were trying to reassert their property rights by voting on Measure 2, a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the state’s property tax for good.
“I would like to be able to know that my home, no matter what happens to my income or my life, is not going to be taken away from me because I can’t pay a tax,” said Susan Beehler, one in a group of North Dakotans who support ending the tax. “When did we come to believe that government should get rich and we should get poor?”
Beehler is part of a growing movement of Americans who have come to realize that no matter how much or how long they pay on their homes, all it takes to lose it to the state is failing one time to pay annual property taxes. Unlike a sales tax, which is a one-time charge, property taxes come up every year, meaning the levy is like a recurring lien on your home and land. And as long as it’s around, you will always live under the threat of having your property confiscated.
One umbrella group called “Empower the Taxpayer” is hoping to convince even more Americans of the injustice of property taxes. Visitors to the group’s website can download a free eBook called, Property Tax Revolution, and watch a video entitled, “Do We Really Own our Homes?” as well as others related to the movement.
Renters, not homeowners
“No tax should have the power to leave you homeless,” says Jim Cox, a state representative in Pennsylvania who has proposed legislation there to eliminate the school property tax because, among other reasons, in the past residents have lost their homes to sheriff’s sales over failure to pay their taxes.
“It means all of us are renters – none of us are homeowners,” Charlene Nelson, a homemaker who became a leader of the effort to amend the state constitution, told The New York Times. That, she says, is the underlying problem with the property tax.
Not all North Dakotans seem interested in being liberated from property taxes, however. Among them is Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
“It’s mind-boggling, really,” he said of how much of an effect repealing the tax would have on things. “We’d be changing everything, frankly.”
“I have to say that we totally understand that North Dakotans are very concerned about their property tax payments,” he told the Times. “You have a tension there, and people say this can’t keep on.”
- Reality Check: The Truth About Property Taxes (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- TurboTax – What Are Personal Property Taxes? (turbotax.intuit.com)
- Don’t fall for the property tax reduction scams. What to look for: (twograhams.wordpress.com)
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