It's known as the "Walmart Bill" -- and it limits tax exemptions in places like Mandan.
Now, in smaller communities, a new or expanding business must be primary sector -- like manufacturing -- to receive a property tax exemption. But some retail and service businesses got in under the wire and were able to get exemptions before the law (ND Senate Bill 2314) went into effect. One such business is putting the exemption to work in its new building.
"We definitely planned it into budget. We created a little bit nicer building because of that with the exemption, it allowed our budget to create a nicer building. The building started out at about $500,000. We ended up at about $800,000," says Tory Otto, owner BaySide Tesoro, Mandan.
Bayside Tesoro will offer drive-thru coffee and food service inside, which they're hoping will increase sales. Some say increased sales tax from new and expanded businesses off-sets the property tax exemption. The new Tesoro plans to be open by Christmas.
Going forward, small communities can get around the prohibition on retail sector property tax exemptions -- but it's up to the people.
"Communities of 40,000 and lower have the ability to go to a vote of the people and be able to have the people vote 'yes' or 'no' on the ability for that city or county to be able to grant a property tax exemption to a retail business," says Ryan Rauschenberger, Deputy Tax Commissioner.
Mandan City Commission is currently gathering input on whether to place the question on the ballot in the 2014 general election.
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