The NDGOP Letter Shows it is in Dire Need of Reform

To those that follow state politics it’s no surprise, but the North Dakota Republican Party needs help. They’ve lost their way. Let’s remember that the "Grand Old Party" is supposed to be the party of things like constitutionally limited government, individual Liberty, and fiscal responsibility.

Only the party has largely drifted from the platform it espouses. This is evident by many of the candidates it endorses. But it’s also obvious in a letter sent yesterday by the party’s Executive Director, Dane J. Ferguson.

Ferguson praised the recent legislature for a number of things that really shouldn’t cause excitement for limited government folks. Things like increased funding to K-12 and social services, together with the misleading claim of "real and long term property tax reform".

As I wrote back in February, from the 2009-2011 biennium to the 2015-2017 biennium the Legislature increased K-12 spending by 80% from $1.3 billion to $2.3 billion. The 65th Legislative Assembly increased that by another $154 million. To put this in greater perspective, from 2009 to 2015 student enrollment increased by just 13%. Meaning the spending has significantly outpaced the number of students in the state.

Knowing that they wanted to "get out of the property tax business" by ending the 12% "buy downs", the Legislature decided to take on a two year pilot program where the state picks up the tab for county social services. This amounts to about $160 million. A far cry from the $350 million spent on the property tax buy downs last biennium.

The move to take over county social services seems calculated in hopes of softening the pushback as a result of ending the buy downs. The sad thing is that Ferguson and the NDGOP seem committed to trying to sell this as "real and long term property tax reform" when it’s not.

I will also remind you that this is the same Legislature that refused to pass a bill that would have allowed property owners to vote on any increases to property tax over 3%. It was also the legislature that in 2012 begged for one more chance to "fix" the property tax mess. Only to find themselves in 2017 begging to get out of it.

The letter also conveniently leaves out the fact that the Legislature drained key reserve funds this last session to the tune of nearly $800 million in order to balance the budget. A figure that makes up nearly 20% of the new budget.

Spending, entitlements, reluctance to make significant cuts, and a property tax shell game… for these reasons – and many more – our NDGOP needs an overhaul.

Sources:
1. https://www.theminutemanblog.com/single-post/2017/02/02/North-Dakotas-K-12-Spending-Nearly-Doubles–With-No-Results
2. https://www.theminutemanblog.com/single-post/2017/04/28/The-Budget-ND-Watchdog-Network-Warns-No-Room-for-Error
3. https://www.ndgop.org/home/the-republican-platform/
4. https://madmimi.com/s/a6451a#

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About T. Arthur Mason 419 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.