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Dave Piepkorn, Fargo , Published June 06 2012

Vote ‘no’ on Fargo sales tax measure

I am on record as being opposed to the proposed extension of Fargo’s half-cent sales tax.

I strongly support efforts to continue our efforts toward flood mitigation. And I support permanent flood protection for our community. But we have to do it right.

When the sales tax increase was first proposed, the argument was made that we needed the money for infrastructure work. That argument did not sell, and now the pitch has changed and we need it to protect Fargo against a 100-year flood.

In 2009, the voters of Fargo supported a half-cent sales tax increase. I strongly supported it. It directs the revenue to a specific purpose: flood mitigation. That sales tax is now producing $11 million per year, which will enable us to protect to 42.5 feet throughout the city.

When the decision on what form of permanent flood protection is made and the costs are known, the residents of Fargo will be asked to help fund this protection. The language on the ballot is vague and places few limits on how the revenue can be spent.

We do not need this tax extension. A lower Fargo sales tax rate will help generate even more business, which, in turn, means more sales tax revenue for the city. I urge a “no” vote on the proposed sales tax extension on Tuesday’s ballot.

Piepkorn is a Fargo city commissioner.