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North Dakota is deciding today whether to eliminate property taxes altogether, which would make it the first state since brilliant Alaska in 1980 to eliminate a major source of funding for things that people actually need, like people who professionally put out fires and an education. Alaska eliminated income taxes, of all things, which probably helped ATV junkie Levi Johnston last a little longer in an eminent tax bracket than he otherwise would have. If North Dakota passes the legislation, it will have $800 million less to play with every year, but mo’ money, mo’ problems. Actually no, that isn’t even the philosophy behind the bill’s supporters: they apparently still think the government will find — or like, print? — that amount of money and give it to them. Can’t they do that?

According to USA Today:

Measure 2, as the proposal is called on the ballot, would require state government to make up for property tax revenue lost by local governments but doesn’t specify how.

Yes, put the power in the hands of the local governments, as pioneers like Rick Santorum wish. In fact, just form governments in your individual homes, North Dakotans! And generate revenue by selling lemonade to each other or crocheting Don’t Tread On Me onto pillows and selling them on Etsy.

Even Fox News mustered the generosity to say that if Measure 2 passed, it would “trigger a legislative scramble.” This concept is a holdover from the good old days of the Tea Party, and we should prepare for Tea Partiers to declare that see, their ideas totally work, why can’t every state just do this? Oh, maybe because North Dakota has tons of oil and money and people with jobs (the lowest unemployment rate in the country), and currently has a $1 billion surplus, and this was probably all because the Tea Party thought good thoughts on North Dakota’s behalf, so shut up and goodbye. [USA Today]

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  • nounverb911

    Now they can fire all the teachers, police and firemen just like Mitt's promised to do.

    • Mitt demands that you stop accusing him of saying what he said, immediately.

      • Baconzgood

        "I didn't know the cameras were rolling"

        • BaldarTFlagass

          "We begin bombing the poor in five minutes."

          • You think he'll actually *warn* us?

        • Negropolis

          He's running for president for pete's sake!

      • Butch_Wagstaff

        Then he'll say that he didn't demand anyone to stop accusing him of saying what he did say.

        • OneDollarJuana

          But he still stands by that demand that he didn't make.

        • You're saying he'll say that I've been saying he said what he said he didn't … never mind.

      • MosesInvests

        He's running for president, for Pete's sake!

        • Generation[redacted]

          I always said someone should run for President. So yeah I'll take a lot of credit for that.

  • Barb

    It's sad about Levi Johnston being broke. I hear he is sleeping on the floor of his uncle's mattress factory.

    • Not_So_Much

      In this analogy, is Bristol the uncle or the mattress?

      • Barb

        She's the box spring.

        • bobbert

          An image springs to mind.

  • nounverb911

    But who will pay for the border fence between ND and Canada?

    • SayItWithWookies

      I think the Canadians will step up.

    • Negropolis

      Well, the Canadians are giving Michigan hundreds of millions of dollars for an extra river crossing between Windsor and Detroit (and we get to pay them back in future tolls), because the crazy Michigan senate has been blocking its construction for years. So, I wouldn't be surprised if they'd pay for a border fence to keep the rabble out.

    • Hedley_Lamarr


  • OneDollarJuana

    I guess they figure they can get all of their operating funds out of their state bank (the only state bank in the US).

  • Preferred Customer

    I think that Republican legislators are the ones that professionally put out an education, in the same way that firefighters put out fires. I don't think this proposal would eliminate funding for that, unfortunately.

  • Why not? It's not like they have much of a population to use these things that tax money might pay for anyway, right?

  • An_Outhouse

    You can just raise taxes on the poor for being poor, call it a poor tax. Then raise the tobacco tax, impose a renters tax, and tax everybody for Sundays but refund it if you can show a note from your pastor that you attended a service.

    • BaldarTFlagass

      Except for Native Americans, are there any poor people in ND? Are there any people at all, besides those clustered around Minot AFB?

      • Serolf_Divad

        If there weren't any people in North Dakota, then who do you think's been molesting the livestock all this time? Think about it.

        • emmelemm

          {thought about it}


          • When aliens do it, it's called probing. When gentlemen farmers do it, it's called "molesting". Can we do away with the double standards already?

    • Callyson

      Seriously–the wingnuts on HuffyPo are still going on about how we should impose an income tax on the poors, even though they already pay payroll/sales/gasoline/etc. taxes, and don't pay an income tax because they are not paid enough by the greedy bastards who are bitching about "double taxation" of record – breaking corporate profits…

      Christ, if I did not have to drive later I'd get my happy hour on already, though I am not sure there is enough alcohol in the world to make me happy at this point…

  • SexySmurf

    I've been through North Dakota once.

    • nounverb911

      I've flown over it a couple o'hundred times.

    • An_Outhouse

      were there Indians? glad you made it back okay.

    • I've been through North Dakota once but I still subscribe to the theory that it was invented by South Dakotans to make their state seem less boring.

      • bobbert

        True fact: There are ND and SD instead of one big Dakota because Republicans insisted on two states so they'd have two more rural Senators.

    • Warwhatgoodfor

      And yet you have not yet committed hari-kiri as an act of antonement. No guts, no glory.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    These people are descended from people who were smart enough to settle in North Fucking Dakota. Does anything further need to be explained? Yeah, yeah, yeah, the wagon wheel broke, I get it.

    • Doktor Zoom

      General Custer, the bad news is that we're surrounded by Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho, and there's no way in hell we'll make it out of here alive.

      The good news is, we won't have to make camp in North Dakota again.

    • coolhandnuke

      North Dakota is the land where people fleeing South Dakota for Canada ran out of gas and settled.

    • OneDollarJuana

      The heartland of America, full of people living on essentially barren steppes who have confused quantity with quality.

  • I had a legislative scramble for breakfast the other day.

    • and law-makin' sausage/ with a side o' toast?

      • Generation[redacted]

        I take mine with waffles.

        • new_pic_for_NEWTer

          …from Denny`s right?

    • glasspusher


  • poorgradstudent

    Give Feudalism a chance!

    • new_pic_for_NEWTer

      …including droit du seigneur for Mitt and our betters…

  • i_AM_ready

    Is ND the one with Mount Rushmore? I know it's the state where the accomplice was in the wood chipper.

    • nounverb911

      Rushmore was filmed in Houston.

    • Baconzgood

      Oh Yeah?

    • Mount Rushmore is in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Closest airport is Rapid City. Airport identifier is KRAP. I am not making that up.

      When flying general aviation it is possible to ask the controllers for vectors to Rushmore. Upon arriving one observes that the subjects, while identifiable, are not as interesting as the view from the ground.

  • coolhandnuke

    Marge Gunderson: So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it.

    • Frances McDormand, one of the greatest actresses ever.

    • Generation[redacted]

      Alright real good then.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    The North Dakotans should read a little history and study a little geology. Those oil reserves will eventually be depleted. Maybe after that they can raise money by selling the old Minuteman silos to survivalists from Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

  • chicken_thief

    If North Dakota has so much damn money, why don't they support their own Injuns and get them off the Federal tit?

  • Baconzgood

    That's just plain fucking stupid.

  • Genius North Dakota plan –
    1) No more taxes!
    2)Credit cards and meth!

  • ChernobylSoup

    I wish they'd do that in my state. Every year the county assessor asks if I own any goats* and we get in this big fight over whether the goats are family or property. And every year when I provide photo evidence to prove my point, everybody gets all judgmental.

    *They really do ask this question.

    • Jus_Wonderin

      It really is just easier to dress the goats up in street clothes. No questions asked!

    • Er … I guess this is the point where I emphasize strenuously to you, CS, that there's no need to explain further exactly what you meant by that.

    • Warwhatgoodfor

      Nah, they're my brothers kids. Well, not the ones from that little girl with the purty eyes over there.

    • I bet your state will pass a law making it mandatory to shoot the county assessor soon. These problems have a way of working themselves out when Republicans are in charge.

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    Kinda like Texas, where Bighair Perry and his preacher pals called for an end to drought, fire, and miscellaneous other One-Star State pestilences, but didn’t specify how.

  • SexySmurf

    would require state government to make up for property tax revenue lost by local governments but doesn’t specify how.

    They could sue Dakota Fanning for stealing their name? Or Oliver North?

  • Come here a minute

    The Constitutional Convention was a "legislative scramble"! It's what tea-partyin' is all about.

    • chicken_thief

      How do them Tea Baggers "scramble" on Rascals?! They got souped up ones with gears and shit?

  • fartknocker

    This will be fun to watch, especially when a pipeline breaks or a tanker of methyl iso bad karma rolls over in the middle of Minot. You know, those firefighters are way too expensive.

  • Baconzgood

    Unrelated to this post:

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! See praying really does work!

    • Not more than one per week, OK?

    • new_pic_for_NEWTer

      Dennys had this last summer – at least in Canadastan. Sorry to disappoint, but it was heinous.

    • Gotta disagree with ya on this one, Baconz. See

    • Negropolis

      USA! USA!

    • scvirginia

      And it's kosher, right?

  • SoBeach

    People shouldn't have to pay more taxes just because they have more property. It's not fair. We should be paying THEM.

    A much fairer system would be for the landowners to rent out small parcels of land to farmers, then take 10% of whatever crops they raise as rent for the land.

    Everyone wins!

    • ChernobylSoup

      Good idea, but there should be a backup plan in case the crops fail. Maybe they could bind the farmer and his family (and their decedents) to the land just to be safe.

    • Warwhatgoodfor

      Just like Russian peasants. Only they got to keep 50%. Or so.

  • scvirginia

    Crotchety pillows on Etsy! That should keep edumacation funded for ages!

    • My pillows never get crotchety but I hear them mutter when I'm all sweaty.

      • scvirginia

        That wasn't your pillows, it was us…

        • Hey, I use deodorant!

          • scvirginia

            Uh, yeah, we were muttering that we like your deodorant…

            Only now I feel like I need to change my user name to Sibyl for some reason?

  • Goonemeritus

    It won’t be long before the good people of North Dakota develop the same dependency on big oil that Alaskans have. When the boom dries up as they all do that state will have zero revenue and a population accustomed to paying nothing.

    • Followed by rioting, chaos, civil war, and the depopulation of most of the state. I'm not really seeing a downside, here.

      • scvirginia

        You will once they produce their version of Sarah "Bitter Quitter" Palin…

        • Might be time for a culling trip to them regions, eh?

          • scvirginia

            Um, yeah. You first… I haz a scared of woodchipperz.

          • Bock.

  • North Dakota can have some of the taxes I pay but only if I can have a herd of heifers.

    Oh, and a few cows.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    That whole do-away-with-property tax thing was done in California about 35 years ago, Proposition 13. California has oil, too. It's all worked out really well for them.

    • Yes, Prop 13 was such a roaring success I don't know why every state doesn't do it.

    • bobbert

      There is actually some resonance with Pee13 — one of the reasons it passed was the state had run a surplus and had a bit of money in the bank. All gone next year, of course.

  • Jus_Wonderin

    "…would require state government to make up for property tax revenue lost by local governments but doesn’t specify how."

    Ah, another fine piece of legislation, ain't it?

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Well, it's not like parceling out the state's (somehow-acquired) millions to hundreds of towns, cities, and counties will be political or anything. I'm sure if some ND town wants a sex-ed program, enlightened nutbag state legislators would never even entertain the notion of yanking on the purse strings.

    • It's called the Magic Asterisk and it pays for a lot of tax cuts. Just ask Paul Ryan.

    • Negropolis

      It's not a bug, it's a feature.

  • SayItWithWookies

    Okay, they're getting rid of taxes and then saying that the state will make up for the lost revenue somehow, which seems oddly unthought-out. This must be like that repeal-and-replace thing they're going to do with healthcare reform.

    • PubOption

      I suspect that in both cases the replacement will tend towards nothing.

  • anniegetyerfun

    Well, the oil will never run out, so why not start reducing those surpluses ASAP?

    • Devilette

      I'm guessing this is the "Bush theory" of working govt.

  • randcoolcatdaddy

    There are people in North Dakota?

    • Just check for anything with fewer than four legs.

  • BigSkullF*ckingDog

    We should sell North Dakota cheap to Canada.

    • viennawoods13

      No thanks, we don't want it. Hell, our glorious leader is cutting 60% of the staff at historic sites! We don't have money to waste on a whole state!

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    I know this is a very subtle thing, and hard for anybody to notice, but am I the only one who's figured out that this benefits only property owners? And especially the owners of lots and lots of property? Purely an unintended consequence, I'm sure.

    • No! Ya think?

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        The sales tax on a can of hobo beans will rise as a result – but that's only fair.

  • Wile E. Quixote

    Why should North Dakotans have to pay property taxes? They can just keep stealing money from the blue states.

    • emmelemm

      That steams my cookies every time I see it.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Somebody should show the rubes how the GOP's budget plan would affect those numbers.

  • Estproph

    I agree with them. Why have property taxes? They have no property.

  • Doktor Zoom

    I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your budgeting work, there, Lou.

  • Ryy

    North Dakota cannot have low employment and oil because Obama is blocking oil production and jobs. Please edit this article. Thanks.

  • Pithaughn

    this is expected and predictable. That area is one of those places that are so difficult to live in that all the smart like able people move away. I know, my boss is one of them. He is smart and like able, still pretty conservative, but in a lead by example kind of way, not "I'ma gunna beat this TRUTH into you!! " way.

  • OneYieldRegular

    George W. Bush is available in case they want to hire someone to get rid of that pesky surplus quickly.

  • Terry

    When their oil boom is over, they'll be feeding themselves with rats and prairie dogs caught on the playgrounds of closed schools. And shivering. A lot.

  • chascates

    The oil will run out, the workers will leave, and the prairie grass will cover all again. The buffalo may return but the Native Americans will not because we've stuck them on the rez and made them alcoholics. Just a few small towns will be left with a few colorful characters who will tell people stopping for gas about the glory days.

    • nedbeaumontjr

      "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" was a fine movie.

      • chascates

        More like "The Last Picture Show" perhaps?

        • nedbeaumontjr

          Not enough evil Roddy McDowel in The Last Picture Show.

  • CivicHoliday

    in NO WAY AT ALL will the regressive tax policies of ND and AK backfire when the oil reserves run dry and everyone has to eek out a living selling switchgrass biodiesel to passing caravans of hippies.

  • whiterabid

    When you got money
    You got lots of friends
    Hanging around your door
    But when the money's gone
    And all your spending ways
    They won't be around anymore

  • Nostrildamus

    Fools! Now Montana will invade and take their women.

  • rickmaci

    North Dakota. South Dakota. Like this country really needed two Dakotas.

  • South Dakota sez: "I'm With Stupid".

  • owhatever

    There were no property taxes in North Dakota when the Founding Four Fathers landed on Plymouth Rock, and that was good enough for them. I would love to watch this grand experiment in democracy at work.

  • Negropolis

    North Dakota: The Dakota that still elects Democrats.

    Honestly, I don't know how that's even possible, but it still happens. How Byron Dorgan was elected anywhere, let alone in such a rugged state, is beyond my understanding of the universe.

    BTW, North Dakota voted this down overwhelmingly, which is yet another example (like Mississippi's personhood proposal) that there really are things to crazy that vast majorities will vote them down.

    I guess what I'm saying is that if we had to get rid of one of the Dakota's, I'd rather it not be the one with Fargo.

  • ttommyunger

    Why not just get rid of North (and South) Dakota?

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