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Published June 12, 2012, 10:52 PM

Measure to eliminate property tax in North Dakota overwhelmingly voted down

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The other high profile issue was Measure 2, the elimination of property taxes. Voters have resoundingly rejected the measure that would have made North Dakota the 1st state to end local property taxes.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The other high profile issue was Measure 2, the elimination of property taxes. Voters have resoundingly rejected the measure that would have made North Dakota the 1st state to end local property taxes.

Yes: 40,348 (23.45%)

No: 131,691 (76.55%)

426/426 Precincts reporting

A "Yes" vote eliminates property taxes and forces the legislature to replace the lost revenue to cities, counties and school districts. A "No" vote keeps things the way they are in the state.

The grassroots efforts picked up national attention today, but the result was surprising to few. The Forum Communications Poll last month predicted a 3-to-1 outcome, and that's almost exactly what happened. The people of North Dakota spoke loud and clear tonight that abolishing property taxes is not the kind of reform they want, but that doesn't mean the property tax debate is even close to over.

Charlene Nelson – Empower the Taxpayer: “Trust me, this is not the end, I cannot tell you the 100's of emails or phone calls we have received in the last 10 days. People who have said over and over again, "This cannot be the end, we have to move forward."

Charlene Nelson from Empower the Taxpayer says her group will take a break for the next few months, but pick up right where they left off in January of 2013 - pushing the legislature for reform. I asked her if she thought her group asked for too much with the total elimination, but she said quote, "Property taxes are a weed and need to go."

Numerous organizations have come out against the measure including the local Chamber of Commerce.

Craig Whitney – CEO, FMWF Chamber of Commerce: “People on both sides of the political isle said this is bad public policy, but now we and a lot of people involved in that movement will focus on getting some serious tax reform, lowering property taxes, corporate taxes and business taxes.”

Whitney told me the local Chamber will start tomorrow working with legislatures on property tax reform for the 2013 legislative session, but tonight comes down to one thing. Faced with the opportunity to eliminate possibly thousands of dollars a year from their budget, North Dakota homeowners voted overwhelmingly to keep paying property taxes.

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