Last year during his campaign Governor Doug Burgum promised, by signing a pledge, that he would “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes or user fees.”
“It is important that voters know unequivocally that as governor I will never raise taxes,” Burgum said in a press statement following the signing of a second pledge.
I flagged these pledges yesterday in a post about a $10 million tax hike on communications aimed at funding a new state radio system for first responders which, at the time, was sitting on Burgum’s desk. I even mentioned it in my print column today.
“Will Burgum side with his campaign promise? Or good policy?” I ask.
Well overnight (and before my column appeared in print today, alas) Governor Burgum did sign HB1178.
“Responding to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests brought to light critical gaps in state communications infrastructure, with a lack of connectivity putting first responders at risk,” Burgum said in a statement sent out at 8:30pm last night (see it in full below). “House Bill 1178 recognizes the need for a robust communications system in our rural areas by streamlining and updating technology as part of a phased approach to ensure that help can reach North Dakotans when they need it, regardless of their location in the state.”
Burgum’s right to have signed this bill. It address a real need without putting a lot of extra burden on the taxpayers.
But it is a tax hike, and signing the bill does represent a broken campaign promise.
A promise Burgum probably shouldn’t have made in the first place.
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