50% property tax reduction? A candidate did the math

Rampant inflation is raising the cost of living for everyone in North Dakota, and as candidates prepare for the June primary, they know the economy is top of mind for voters.

Roscoe Streyle, Republican candidate for House in District 3, announced a plan to cut residential property taxes by 50% for all North Dakota homeowners.

The goal is to ease the financial burden on the people of North Dakota by using the state’s excess surplus.

It’s a $500 million plan for the next two-year biennial budget.

Streyle, who used to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, says it’s a realistic plan the state can afford. There’s $200 million in the tax relief fund and $205 million in the strategic investment improvement fund, and then the budget surplus through the general fund is $332 million. Streyle says if you add oil tax revenue to those funds, the state of North Dakota is sitting on over a billion budget surplus and growing every month.

“Soybeans cost $17-18. Wheat costs $10 and up. Oil $111 today. All of this is North Dakota’s breadbasket and feeds the world. Coal is at all-time highs. Natural gas is at record highs, so it all benefits the state budget because we’re rich on it,” Streyle explained.

Streyle said in a previous session that lawmakers were able to pass a 12% tax cut on all property classes and that his plan would use the same mechanism.

“The counties are already set up and able to do this. There would be no necessary investment in technology or infrastructure for the counties to do this. This is simply a report of the amount of residential property tax collected in your county. North Dakota State fills 50%,” Streyle said.

High inflation pushes up commodity prices and that’s great for government coffers. Streyle says total gross income for oil alone in April was $239 million and the general fund surplus was $128 million above budget.

“I anticipate this budget surplus when the biennium ends June 30 next year there will be well over $2 billion in surplus. So to me it is not unreasonable that the State of North Dakota returns some of the taxpayer money,” Streyle said.

Streyle’s opponents for the two open District 3 seats, Reps. Jeff Hoverson and Lori VanWinkle, all agree the plan is a step in the right direction — but they want to go further to eliminate all property taxes.

“A dollar circulates about seven times a year, which means you tax that dollar seven times, so automatically, just by lowering the tax, you will replenish that revenue by about 50% from that reality. another thing we have to look at is state government, like the federal government, we have to seriously look at the size of our government,” Hoverson said.

“Just understanding that I’m a real estate agent, I kind of brought that in as seeing, in the first place, the degree of government control. I believe that families should be able to own their homes, so that they can’t lose, that they’ve spent their hard-earned time and money to get there only in the end if they fall on hard times that it can be taken away from them,” VanWinkle said.

Hoverson and VanWinkle are part of a group planning to put a “no property tax” measure on the 2024 ballot.

Streyle highlighted data points in the April 2022 General Fund Report, the April 2022 Oil Revenue Report and the 2020 Property Tax Debt Summary Sheet.

The following document is a projection of tax reductions for randomly selected addresses in Bismarck:

Penny D. Jackson