North Dakota Votes Against Abolishing Property Tax

"It's a volatile industry. We've been through booms and busts before," he said.

Supporters of Measure 2 argued that after the legacy fund, about $1 billion in oil revenue would still be available each year.

But Jon Godfread, the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce's vice president of governmental affairs, said the measure would have taken away control from local governments -- whose main source of revenue is property taxes.

"We think local government is the best government because it's closest to the people," Peterson said.

If property tax revenue dries up, the state's 2,100 units of local government would have to come to the state legislature "begging for money." That would be challenging as the state has a biennial legislature that meets 80 days every two years.

Nelson said if the measure passed, there would be no need to raise taxes elsewhere.

"If taxes are raised it will be a political decision and not an economic one. It will be to appease special interest groups that want unlimited access to family budgets," she said.

Nelson said she will continue working on the issue.

"If it doesn't pass," she said, "we've just begun."

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