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Anthony Gehrig, Published February 18 2012

Say ‘no’ to more city taxes

Residents of Fargo: Since 2003, our taxes have gone up. The Fargo budget is 88 percent greater than it was nine years ago and the city commissioners want more. On June 12, one of Fargo’s two

infrastructure taxes is set to expire. The City Commission has stated that it will attempt to extend the 0.5 percent sales tax and use the money for flood protection and roads. The second infrastructure sales tax is 1 percent and set to expire in 2028, and the 0.5 percent flood control tax expires in 2029.

The commission would have you believe that if we do not extend the

0.5 percent sales tax in June, Fargo may not have enough money to fight the flood and build roads. I am here to tell you: Do not believe the hype.

In 2003, roads were built, children were educated, snow was removed and the business of local government was accomplished with $102.5 million less than today. Although our population has increased by only 13.5 percent since 2003, our budget has nearly doubled. Something does not add up. The budget is ballooning at an alarming rate.

While the commission perpetually asks for more, it continues to spend your hard-earned tax dollars on projects that do not address the primary concern of Fargo – flood protection. We do not need to turn established one-way roads into two ways at great expense; we do not need bike lanes; we do not need a Courts Plus addition; we do not need to spend untold millions on additional downtown parking. We need flood protection.

Instead of prioritizing spending, the commission’s answer, as usual, is to raise taxes. Don’t raise taxes, spend wiser! Fargo does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem.

The Fargo City Commission believes that tax revenue should be brought up to the level that the commission wants to spend, whereas I believe that the commission should reduce the amount of spending to fit the tax revenue. That is how business budgets work, and that is how family budgets work.

The solution put forth by the Fargo City Commission, to once again raise your taxes, is another example of why I am running for Fargo city commissioner. Residents of Fargo, you have been more than generous. It is time for a leader to show the commission how to prioritize and spend your money like it is their own.

As commissioner, I will have the courage to say “no.” No to irresponsible spending. No to extraneous projects. No to ignoring tough issues. No to more taxes.

Gehrig is a candidate for Fargo city commissioner.