A BIG IDEA ON PROPERTY TAXES HAS SOME SEEING BIG PROBLEMS

Senator Steve Erdman, of Bayard, has said that he plans to introduce a tax bill in January that would require the state to refund half of what everyone pays in property taxes when they file their income taxes. Since schools account for about 60 percent of the property tax, this would amount to roughly a 30 percent property tax cut for everyone. "Local units of government who collect taxes will be able to collect their taxes just like they normally do. And it'll be up to the state to find the funds to refund or credit all these people," Erdman said. Some have misgivings about Erdman's plans though. Senator Jim Smith, the chairman of the Revenue Committee agrees that taxes are too burdensome but is critical of the plan. "I think it borderlines on recklessness if we have a proposal with such a sizable fiscal note without some explanation or understanding or idea of how it's going to be paid for," Smith said. Senator Kate Bolz criticized the plan because she doesn't see how the state could make up the $1.2 billion gap this bill would cause in the state budget. Governor Pete Ricketts was also critical of the plan, saying without an actual way to finance the cuts the plan is just a fantasy. Erdman has also started a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot so  voters could vote on the bill in case the legislature decides not to pass the bill.