Dick Dever: Doug Burgum Should Tell Voters What He Would Have Done Differently

The radio ads that say, “Watford City! We’re not the same! We’re better!” are inspiring.

It is surprising that the mayor of Watford City would throw himself into a campaign with ads negatively criticizing state investments in our people and our communities.

It is true that state general fund spending went from just under $2 billion in the 2005-07 biennium to just over $6 billion in the 2015-17 biennium, but the numbers behind the numbers justify the investments.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Would he cut the $1 billion-plus that was invested in infrastructure, including Western Area Water Supply and other one-time spending in the current biennium? He can’t say that the state should make those investments and criticize us for doing it.[/mks_pullquote]

If a candidate for governor chooses to use terms like, “runaway spending” and “billion-dollar deficits,” he should specify what he would cut.

Would he cut the $1 billion-plus that was invested in infrastructure, including Western Area Water Supply and other one-time spending in the current biennium? He can’t say that the state should make those investments and criticize us for doing it.

Would he reverse the $1.176 billion shift in education funding from the local school districts to the state, largely to reduce property taxes? How about the $15.5 million increase in the Homestead Tax Credit or the $33 million shift in Social Service spending from the counties to the state, or the $250 million in direct property tax relief?

Ten years ago, the federal government paid 73 percent of the cost of Medicaid. Because of the sharp increase in personal income in North Dakota, the state now pays 50 percent of those costs.

You can’t say the state should be responsible in not taking federal money and then criticize the state for doing just that.

That candidate is self-funding his campaign and saying he will not accept a paycheck if elected governor. Does he really think the people of North Dakota accept that only the wealthy should aspire to the Office of Governor?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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