Jeff Brose, Minot
My youngest son, a 4th-grader, is in his second year in a portable at Perkett. While not the most convenient, he still manages to receive a quality education. I agree, something needs to be done. What I am opposed to is the effect the proposed project will have on taxpayers.
Chad Wolsky of Minot penned a letter of support for the Dec. 10 school bond issue. (MDN 11/24/2013). In it, he states, "I would challenge any that oppose the current proposal to come up with a better solution." I accept your challenge.
Minot has a 2.5 cent sales tax. The first penny of the fund generated the following amounts: $7,422,957 (2009), $8,600,195 (2010), $10,806,093 (2011) and $13,352,676 (2012). Forty percent of that total is dedicated to "economic development." Forty percent amounts to $2,969,182 (2009), $3,440,078 (2010), $4,322,478 (2011) and $5,341,070 (2012). When this one-cent sales tax went into effect, economic development was needed. Fast forward to today: Is the 40 percent of the tax for economic development needed now? Do we really need "economic development?" My opinion is no. Minot is booming! That 40 percent would go a long way in building and improving our schools.
Take a moment and examine some of the 2012 disbursements from the Magic Fund for economic development (www.minotnd.org/pdf/finance/budget/magic12.pdf). Many of the projects sound like "infrastructure" projects, not "economic development." It is my understanding that a separate percent of this one-cent tax was to be used for infrastructure improvements. I guess it's what your interpretation of what "economic development" is.
My wife recently opened a small business. She did not receive one dime of "economic development" money. She went to the bank and borrowed. In the process, three full-time and five part-time jobs were created. It is small potatoes, but still "economic development."
Mr. Wolsky goes on to state, "Successful communities invest in education and make it a priority." I think it needs to be investigated what is legal under the Minot Home Rule Charter on how collected sales taxes may be used. It would be a much easier task to pass a vote to redirect 40 percent of the first penny currently used for economic development to the school project.
This would gore the ox of the economic development folks. It's hard to let go of money in the government trough. Ronald Reagan once said, "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" Just substitute "tax" for "government bureau."
The proposed school project either needs to be scaled back or needs to have a different funding option. I don't think all funding options have been explored. I will be voting "no" for that reason. We are currently taxed to death with more taxes being proposed.