"This will put us at too great of risk and is irresponsible in light of the current crash in oil prices"
Oil prices will come back up over the next year. The current situation is based on issues with the Corona virus, as well as bickering with Russia and Saudi Arabia, both of which are temporary problems.
"This will make us too dependent on oil. If oil permanently downturns, we will be in for trouble"
Let’s be very clear: we are already completely dependent on oil. In the event of a long-term downturn in oil prices, we will be in trouble whether this passes or not. This measure capitalizes on our good fortune of oil revenue. We can use these revenues now, to dramatically improve our business and tax climate. Doing this will diversify the economy and bring families and businesses to North Dakota. With that economic engine, and the increased revenue from sales tax and income tax, it is the only plan that will free us from our current dependence on oil.
"We will just need to raise other taxes to make up for the lost revenue"
Not true. Using newly available monies, existing funds, and some Legacy Fund earnings, we can eliminate all property tax without raising a dime in new taxes. This was said in 2012, yet it is a fact looking at the numbers, that no new taxes Would have needed to be raised.
"There will be loss of services"
Because the legislature is required to replace ALL of the revenue that the locals have been receiving in property tax, there is no budget crunch, and no need to reduce services
"Locals will just hike up special assessments to make up for the loss in property taxes"
No. There is no loss from the local perspective. All of the revenue is replaced. Although locals can increase special assessments, it will be no more likely than it is now.
"There will be complete loss of local control"
Keep this in mind; 100% of all decision making regarding the budget, and how/where/when local municipalities spend the money is completely to their discretion. The legislature has no say.
If new or additional needs arise, the locals will be able to do bonding, increase special assessments, and increase sales tax; and the citizens will be able to have a voice.
"The legislature will become the de facto city and county commissioner for every locality"
The legislature currently sends $4B in state revenue to the locals by way of formulas! The legislature will simply set up a formula, similar to what it has done with k-12 education funding. Then the formula is applied to everyone equally.
"Commissioners will need to come to Bismarck to beg for money"
Because the property tax replacement will be done by taking the current amount raised in property tax, and adding inflators in a formula applied to everyone, it will do no one any good to come and lobby in Bismarck.
"Larger and more powerful cities and counties will take advantage of others"
We are already sending $4B to locals by way of formula. For example, we are currently funding 80% of k-12 education (and will likely increase that to 100% in 2021) and larger school districts do not have power over smaller school districts. When we went from 50% funding in 2012 to 80% in 2013, it did not make any district more powerful. Because larger cities cannot lobby to get more money at the expense of smaller towns and counties, they will not be able to wield power.
"Necessary services will be cut"
Not true! All local subdivisions will continue to receive what they have been in property taxes, and this will be increased yearly.
"The legislature will need to become full time to deal with all of the budgets"
The legislature will create a formula and apply it to all subdivisions equally. They will not know or care about the details of the locals’ budgets. That is the locals’ business.
"Locals will no longer be able to address new or increased needs"
All of the same mechanisms that exist now will continue to be options for the subdivisions. That includes sales tax, special assessments, and bonding.