Welcome to Washington… er … La-La Land

This month has been what looks like a reality check. Let’s stipulate to a few facts. In Washington, D.C. we have a Republican President, a Republican House of Representatives and a Republican Senate. In the opinion of these duly elected persons, a tax decrease is needed to stimulate the economy. This is at a time when unemployment is at its lowest level in years and the stock market is at a record high.

Meanwhile, in Minot, North Dakota, all of our representatives and senators in the state legislature are Republicans. The past few sessions they have given us tax breaks which in retrospect were based upon overly optimistic forecasts. The Minot School Board seems Republican-dominated as it recently voted to name a new grade school after Republican Senator John Hoeven rather than name it after Abraham Lincoln after whom the flooded grade school had been named. Draw your own conclusions as to which has been the more historical luminary. If there are any Democrats on the Ward County Commission, they have done a very good job of remaining in the closet. There has recently been a new Minot City Council elected, which to the best of my knowledge, is controlled by Republicans and/or Independents.

At the present time in Minot, farm prices are depressed, the oil economy boom is over. There is no shortage of overbuilding in the apartment real estate and commercial real estate sectors. Home prices are fairly level unless they are in the areas that were flooded in 2011. The city and county share of the billion-dollar-plus flood protection plan and when it will be completed are still a work in progress.

Why did the Republicans in Washington lower our taxes while the national economy is good and local Republicans and Independents raise our taxes while the local economy is iffy? Could it be that our local leaders live in a reality-based world and our national leaders are living in a fantasy world? The Ward County leaders are paying for some of their past questionable decisions as well as the basic needs of the county such as law enforcement (is crime going down?), road construction and maintenance, flood control, etc. The school board has had to deal with flooded schools and a growing community. Teachers are dealing with more families that do not resemble Ozzie and Harriet Nelson or The Brady Bunch. The new and improved Minot City Council has to deal with not only flood control but law enforcement and fire protection, not to mention paying for the mistakes of its predecessors. To the credit of all three governing bodies, they have all recognized that there are bills to be paid. The only way to get that done it to raise our property taxes 20 to 30 percent at a time when arguably our real estate investments are either stagnant, declining or nothing to brag about.

You know in their hearts of hearts they would have preferred to have given us tax breaks. The reality, however, is that this would have bankrupted our local governmental bodies. North Dakotans take pride in paying their bills. Will raising our taxes stimulate the local economy which needs stimulation?

Will the rosy picture Congress and our trusted President have painted become the truth rather than a pipe dream? Have Washington Republicans now changed their core belief about the dangers of the rising trillions of dollars of deficits? Could it be that our local Republicans have to look at us every day because they live with us rather than parachuting in for an occasional ribbon cutting paid for with more money borrowed from our good friends in China? Who do we trust more? At least the local Republicans are asking us to pay for their mistakes rather than our grandchildren. We may not enjoy it, but uncomfortable truths beat comfortable fantasies.

Avatar photo

Jim Maxson

Mr. Maxson is a retired Minot attorney, former ND State Senator representing Minot's 3rd District from 1986-1994, and former ND Democratic National Committeeman from 2000-2008. He speaks two languages, English and Metaphor, and is cursed by a long memory.

Local Businesses Supporting Local News

Subscribe to Today in Minot!

It's the free, easy way to stay informed about what's happening in Minot, and it helps support independent local news and journalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *