Created: 11/26/13 (Tue) | Topic: Issues
NDFB establishes priority issues
The development of an initiated measure on property tax reform and a reaffirmation of the organization’s opposition to the Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment were included in the organization’s 2014 priority issues.
“North Dakota Farm Bureau is very grassroots driven, and our members have spoken very clearly on several significant issues that impact agriculture and the rural communities of our state,” said NDFB Director of Public Policy Pete Hanebutt.
Following the close of the 71st NDFB Annual Meeting, members of the organization’s Public Finance and Education Committee and Agriculture and Environment Committee met to prioritize the issues. The list of priorities was then approved by the NDFB Board of Directors.
The initiated measure on property tax reform will include four major elements:
1. Change all reference of mills to dollars per thousand dollars of taxable valuation.
2. Require baseline budgeting political subdivisions, with approval for budget increases approved by voters on a biennial basis.
3. Establish a fund through which a property tax credit will be paid to the political subdivisions against a reduction in the taxable valuation of property; and
4. Consolidate tax levies.
The committees also forwarded the following policy as a priority: We oppose any additional funding for water, wildlife and parks initiatives.
“In addition to our members’ strong stance on property taxes, we have major concerns with the Water, Wildlife and Parks Constitutional Measure. It boils down to greed versus need, and our members believe strongly that this measure is too extreme,” Hanebutt said.
Other priorities include legislation to allow outside capital investment by unrelated individuals in the family farm corporation; and opposition to funding of any diversion proposal that includes a dam and reservoir on the Red River south of Fargo.
“Farmers and ranchers in North Dakota are very level headed, and have their eyes focused on the next generation,” Hanebutt said. “Investments in our family operations will be important for our future. Our members are sharp business people who understand the need for capital investment.”
In regard to the Red River diversion, Hanebutt said, “With a vision that only comes from being tied to the land, our members also recognize the importance of all the stakeholders’ needs being considered regarding any Red River projects. It would be irresponsible for our government entities to invest in a diversion project that creates more problems for upstream landowners than it solves for downstream constituents. It’s the unintended consequences in circumstances like this that causes rural landowners the most concern.”