Tax payers speak out about county social services bill, originally intended to lower property taxes

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Property taxes in the state are going up as a result of the state absorbing funding for county social services.

The law, which heads to the governor's desk, originally intended to lower property taxes permanently, but the end result is money for social services will now come from property tax relief given to home owners last biennium.

This property will cost the home owner more in property tax next year.

"Property taxes in North Dakota are probably one of the highest in the country. I know people that have moved away and said they're property taxes, even though they own a bigger house was still much less than North Dakota," said homeowner Russell Heier.

Depending on what county you live in, property taxes will go up by how much your county pays for social services. In Burleigh County, that's 5.1percent.

"They're faced with a short fall this year in their budgeting process and they're asking the tax payers to bear the brunt of their reckless spending of the last 10 years," said Charlene Nelson, president of Empower the Tax Payer.

Some property owners think current taxes are already excessive.

"When you look at it, you pay for school tax, I pay for school tax even on my commercial property and there's nobody going to school there, nobody even can live there," said Heier.

Law makers say this isn't a perfect solution but it is a good compromise.

"Here we are with a bill that I believe is probably in the best shape it's been in since we've taken a look at it. I think it's going to provide property tax relief for the payers, property tax payers," said Rep. Craig Headland, R-Montpelier.

Anti-tax advocates say this is the same old story. A few years of small relief then taxes rise again.

"It only lasted, you know, not even barely two years and we're right back where we started back in 2012," said Nelson.

Home owners don't see a lot of options for themselves at the moment.

"Unfortunately, I'll probably just grin and bear it," said Heier.

The new law goes into effect Aug. 1.

The state takeover of county social services is only a two year pilot program, so there is a chance they could be returned to counties after this biennium. But, some law makers have already stated their intent to make this a permanent change.