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Ed Schafer: Trump should emulate North Dakota on tax reform

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on the campaign trail during the 2016 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, N.D. Forum News Service file photo

It’s a great day in North Dakota and I welcome President Trump to the Bismarck and Mandan communities.

My hope is he learns about the ND experience and how the tax and regulation policies that have been instituted since the 1990s prepared a foundation for lower cost government, deficit spending elimination and increased business investment – policy that spurred our economy and put North Dakota on the national radar for economic improvement and personal income growth.

As we listen to all the political pundits, Washington DC elite and populist politicians bemoaning the commitment of President Trump to lower federal taxes and eliminate burdensome regulations, it is a good idea to review North Dakota’s rise to the top.

When our voters advanced Republican leadership in 1992, we inherited an economy that was in the tank, a government that couldn’t pay its bills and policy governance that insisted that raising taxes and putting in more controls were the answer to our doldrums. Hordes of people were leaving our state because they couldn’t find jobs to support themselves and their families.

I was elected with the promise to reduce the cost of government, reduce the cost of doing business and, importantly for the message today, lower taxes. And as President Trump pursues tax reduction and reform let us not forget the history of tax policy and its effect on deficit spending and business investment.

It was at the 1964 National Republican Convention in San Francisco when I heard President Reagan talk about tax burdens and how no nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that overtops a third of its national average income. He mentioned that our government was spending more than we were taking-in, and how we’d had to raise the debt limit three times in the last twelve months; how our debt burden was more than the combined debts of all the nations in the world, and how the purchasing power of the people was going down.

Not much has changed has it?

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