Reflecting on a tax meeting

A meeting about taxes…sounds like fun, huh? I thought it was going to be. In fact, I fully expected to learn a little, have some questions answered, and walk away with new insight, new information and a new attitude. I was wrong.

As I mentioned before, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be in favor of the state of North Dakota doing away with property taxes. I wasn’t convinced that Measure 2 (as it’s called) was the answer we were all looking for, when trying to consider relief for tax payers. And now I’m most certain of it.

So what happened? To tell you the truth, not much. And that was the main problem. Instead of answering questions, there was a lot of double-speak, dancing around the issue and turning the blame to the legislature. To top it all off, they cut off the conversation after an hour-and-a-half. That included introductions, each side giving their case and a wrap-up. Definitely not enough time to truly discuss the issue.

But the final comment summed it all up (let me paraphrase it for you): So, the legislature is our problem, and the solution is to give them full control?

Doesn’t sound any better today than it did a week ago.

The nail in the coffin for me? Something that wasn’t even brought up at the meeting: let’s say that this measure is passed. Let’s say that after six months or so, we realize that it’s a terrible mistake and it’s costing our state way more than we expected. Can we change it the next go round? No. According to Article III, section 8 of our current state consitution, “a measure approved by the electors may not be repealed or amended by the legislative assembly for seven years from its effective date, except by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house.”

Yikes.

We want real change? Elect people not afraid to make real change. Don’t go throwing out everything we have in exchange for promises that are made without a plan in place.

Our state is on a solid footing economically. And in today’s economy, it seems to be a world-class mistake to jeopardize that.

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9 thoughts on “Reflecting on a tax meeting

  1. It is wise to keep your state economically strong…there will be a future for your boys to farm if they want to! Here in WI, after years of racking up debt and not paying it off, we finally have a man who wasn’t afraid to make the tough decisions and put us fiscally back on track, but now he faces a recall for fixing the problem! Granted we didn’t expect our state to freak out and out of state people to arrive by the busloads to protest, destroy all decorum for closed meetings, threaten the legislators’ lives and their families, and cause hundred of thousands of dollars of damage to our Capitol just because the state employees had to help pay for more of their “cadillac” health ins and retirement plans. They didn’t even know what a co-pay was!!!!
    We farm and run a small trucking business…and know that when the checkbook is empty…you stop spending. My husband has served the last 4 years as a State Rep…a rare combination of a real farmer and a state legislator. He gets up every morning and feeds 350 head before he heads off to the Capitol. He is a rare find, since he looks equally at both sides and comes out with the decision that would be best for everyone. It was the hardest thing to live through and I could never of imagined what 1 vote would do to change our lives forever. But, we know it was the right way to turn our state around…bring back business and jobs into our state…giving our children and grandchildren a future. I applaud you for being an farming advocate…it is a rare find these days, especially in a “gime” world.

      • Good news Val! The Federal gov is backing off that crazy child labor law, atleast for now…or until they come up with another really “dumb” idea on this matter. Our farm families can enjoy the same learning environment we did and our kids will be able to continue to show animal projects at the fairs! Thanks for all of you who spoke up against this bad legislation…it really made a difference!

      • Isn’t that the best news of all?!? It goes to show that the voice of reason can ring true…and we’re not always stuck with what we have. We just have to be willing to fight for what we want.

  2. Concerned about it being constitutional? Why’s that? If it is a “big mistake” it can changed by the people at ANYTIME. They have to do exactly what is being done here. Get the signatures on a petition (28,000 +) and present it to the voters. It doesn’t take 7 years. It can be done immediately. The problem with this is that those opposing abolition of property taxes know once they are abolished people will NEVER want to go back.

    So, if the people decide that abolishing property taxes was a mistake they can easily re-impose property taxes at any time they wish – initiate the petition, put it before the people and and vote to have property taxes again. What’s the problem? What’s the concern?

    Those trying to scare us are doing just that – trying to scare us. They are misleading us and doing so intentionally. This is just one example. Go on-line at: http://www.YesM2.com and read the measure.

    Measure 2 will pay for itself. In doing so it will diversify our state economy and give our children job opportunities that currently don’t exist. When you put $700 million back into the hands of those of us that have earned it the PRIVATE ECONOMY will thrive. Look at the econometric study of the Beacon Hill Institute of Suffix University at the web-site.

    We can either have bigger government or we can have a vibrant private economy AND be secure in our homes. That is what Measure 2 is about. Those opposing Measure 2 depend on your tax dollars for their well being. In short, if you want more government and to keep less of what you earn – vote no on Measure 2. If you want to be secure in your home, a vibrant private economy and less government VOTE YES ON MEASURE 2. It’s that simple.

    • I have read the Articles in the state constitution regarding initiated measures and how they can be changed…that’s where I got my information from. Check out Article III, section 8 of our current state constitution, “a measure approved by the electors may not be repealed or amended by the legislative assembly for seven years from its effective date, except by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house.”

      Section 16 in the same document states, “any amendment to this constitution may be proposed in either house of the legislative assembly, and if agreed to upon a roll call by a majority of the members elected to each house, must be submitted to the electors and if a majority of the votes cast thereon are in the affirmative, the amendment is a part of this constitution.”

      As easy as getting it before the people? Or as clear as mud?

      Again, and I will say it until I’m blue in the face, I’m not against making changes. I’m against throwing everything out for a plan that is lacking a “plan.”

      At the meeting I attended, I heard about communities complaining about schools. I don’t believe ours is one of them. With the assistance of the funds provided by the wind towers, our school has been able to make advancements in areas that may have been neglected otherwise. When the measure states that those schools will be fully and properly funded, at what level? At the level we are budgeted at now? Or at the level Carrington is budgeted at now? Or at the level Fargo is budgeted at now? Is it so much per student? Is it so much per capita? What is the formula there? Or is that also up to the Legislature?

      I don’t believe the companies that are involved in our area will just donate to our schools, out of the kindness of their hearts.

      What “more government” are you talking about? Giving government full control over coming up with a way to make up for the funds that will be missing from our budget seems like way more government to me. I have attended our township meetings, I have witnessed the amount of time it takes for my husband and other township officers to determine which roads need work and which roads need gravel. I know the time and effort that those people give to our area each day. Please, do not belittle the work that they are doing. They determine specifically where each dollar is spent, and they are in direct control of each decision. Do not lie about that.

      I have studied your website way before it’s become the site that it is now. I’ve seen the changes that it’s gone through and the messages that have been focused on. I don’t appreciate being continually accused of not doing my homework, because trust me, I have. I have spent way more time on your website than you’re giving me credit for.

      And yes, I may farm and ranch, but I also own a house in town, so I’m well aware of the burden of paying taxes. And my grandmother paid the taxes on that house before me. Never did she once complain about her “burden,” because she knew about the privileges that came with it.

      In a day and age when we expect a lot for nothing, I have no problems with putting in time and work to achieve the goals we set forth. I don’t expect someone else to do the dirty work. If this plan is the answer, then why did it leave so many questions? Why is it not written in black and white? Why do you leave so much to chance?

      Until these questions are answered sufficiently, I will not be supporting Measure 2.

  3. Forget the seven years. Measure 2 does not take away local government taxing power. It just
    takes away the very abusive tax called property tax. The Legislature will have constitutional
    power to grant local governments taxing authority, just like they did for property taxes.

    What a relief it will be to get rid of property taxes and have some civilized tax in its place.

    • And where is this in the measure? A civilized tax? I thought there wasn’t such a thing? The government is abusive in its power, but yet now we expect them to be civilized? I do believe you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth.

      And no, I cannot forget the seven years. One of the arguments on the website is that it’s taken an absurd amount of time to get to this point…I’m not willing to bet my children’s future on it taking that long again.

      We have a platform, we have an opportunity, why not see some real change in a positive light? The type of change that can improve our state, without hurting it at the same time. Why is it that common sense seems to be so uncommon?

      I will keep repeating that I am all for change. And I will say even louder that this is not it.

  4. Pingback: Reading Up on Measure 2 | Wag'n Tales – Life on the Farm

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