Sen. Tom Fiebiger and Sen. Ryan Taylor, Published October 20 2010
Wise investments today vital to the future of North DakotaNorth Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani’s first state of the university address was well thought out, and as a state senator who represents the NDSU campus and a state senator who is an alumnus and sees the far-reaching effect of the university beyond the Red River Valley, we were inspired by his challenge to all of us to use our imagination and be visionaries for the next 100 years, not just the next biennium.
He spoke of our window of opportunity. What do we want this great state to look like long-term, and how do we help make that happen? That is the healthy challenge we present to our colleagues in the North Dakota Legislature.
North Dakota’s natural resources have helped create an economy that has weathered the national recession and resulted in unprecedented budget surpluses. This calls for bold and responsible leadership to ensure that the revenue from this one-time harvest is used to permanently improve North Dakota for current residents and future generations. To that end, as legislators, we make the following commitment to North Dakota’s future.
- Make property tax relief permanent. Extend the property tax cuts into the future by funding the state’s share of education at the 70 percent level and ensuring local governments reduce mill levies accordingly.
- Strengthen North Dakota’s infrastructure. Ensure funding for Fargo flood control, solutions for Devils Lake, extended rural water systems and the roads, bridges and highways needed to serve our communities and promote future growth for generations to come.
- Provide fair and effective oil impact funding. Address the substantial impact North Dakota’s oil boom has had on western North Dakota by providing funding for safe roads, housing, sensible development and public safety.
- Ensure permanent gains from North Dakota’s one-time harvest. Make substantial one-time investments to provide permanent sources of funding for key priorities in our colleges and the students they serve to grow our work force and diversify our economy for decades to come.
- Invest in the next generation. Fund the programs that ensure our children are healthy, well cared for, educated and prepared for the future, and may they know that higher education and job skill training is within their grasp, rich or poor, if they aspire to it.
North Dakotans are practical, and we are planners with a sense of our heritage. We should responsibly invest part of the people’s surplus in our people and infrastructure to respond to their needs today, and to create the long-term future we want to make together.
Fiebiger, D-Fargo, represents District 45 in the North Dakota Senate; Taylor, D-Towner, represents District 7.