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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Cory Fong, Tax Commissioner, 701-328-2770
Wednesday, August 2, 2006  

FONG ADVOCATES PROPERTY TAX RELIEF THAT IS FAIR, CLEAR, AND SUSTAINABLE

BISMARCK, N.D. – Earlier today Tax Commissioner Cory Fong voiced support for property tax relief that is fair, clear, and sustainable while testifying on proposed legislation being considered by the Interim Finance and Taxation Committee.

“The issue that seems to be on the minds of many people is high property taxes,” said Commissioner Fong. “Our state is in a very strong financial position because of our good stewardship, sound policies, and strong economic growth. Now is the time for meaningful and responsible property tax relief.”

Fong mentioned two recent economic reports. In May the 2005 Annual Taxable Sales and Purchases reported total taxable sales and purchases for 2005 were over $8.5 billion, growing 7.3 percent over the previous year. And newly released figures report the total state and local tax revenue collected during fiscal year 2006 grew 16 percent, or $177 million.

“This growth and expansion provides an opportunity for meaningful and responsible property tax relief,” said Fong.

The Interim Finance and Taxation Committee was charged with finding ways to reduce the burden on property taxes for core K-12 education expenses. Fong urged that as the legislative process evolves, property tax relief should be fair and provide relief to those who need it most; be clear for taxpayers to understand; and be affordable and sustainable so it does not require a tax increase elsewhere down the road to pay for it.

“Going forward, the Office of State Tax Commissioner stands ready and willing to work together with the Interim Committees and the Legislative Assembly in crafting the right kind of meaningful property tax relief package,” said Fong. “An end product that encompasses and incorporates other emerging ideas and works in concert with the Special Commission on Education, will result in increased funding for K-12 education, greater equity among school districts, and much needed property tax relief.”

The Interim Finance and Taxation Committee approved the proposed legislation by a vote of 16 to 6 today. The proposed legislation will now move on to the full legislative assembly for its consideration when it convenes in January 2007.

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