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Dean Meyer, Dickinson, N.D., Published November 16 2013

Letter: Critic out of touch with ND reality

As a former member of the North Dakota Legislature and a lifelong resident of western North Dakota, I feel I follow the genesis of impact funding as well as most. Rep. Scot Louser’s criticism of Democrats in the Nov. 7 Forum is completely out of touch with reality.

Granted, there is now a tremendous amount of money being invested. Some would say “Wonderful!” Some would say, “Where have you been the past five years?”

Rep. Kenton Onstad and his caucus have been fighting for increased funding before it became popular with the current Legislature. They were the first to fight for increased funding for impact dollars. They were the first to recognize the needs of emergency services. They were the first to fight for a formula that allows more dollars to go directly to the impacted political subdivisions, without micromanagement from a committee in Bismarck.

How often have we heard, “We will give the counties money as soon as they can prove their needs.” Don’t do $5 billion in damage to our infrastructure and brag to me about giving $2 billion back. Don’t set aside billions of dollars so you can brag about your fiscal management in the next election.

Before you brag to me about how much you have done, sit at a stoplight for an hour trying to get through Watford City. Try to teach your teenager to drive on a county road in Mountrail or McKenzie counties. Haul a load of cattle down BIA 14. Try to cross the highway with a load of hay on a foggy morning. Volunteer your services to an ambulance crew that makes two runs a day.

The funding is great; I only wish it could have been sooner. And more.