ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Do something good for future of state

Bismarck I am surprised at the reluctance of some of the people in North Dakota to do something that is in their best interests. A lot of the groups speaking out in opposition to Measure 1 on the November ballot are the ones who stand to benefit ...

Bismarck

I am surprised at the reluctance of some of the people in North Dakota to do something that is in their best interests. A lot of the groups speaking out in opposition to Measure 1 on the November ballot are the ones who stand to benefit the most from its passage.

Measure 1 is something we should have put in our state constitution long ago. In the 1950s, and again in the 1980s, North Dakota experienced oil booms. Each time the opinion in the state was that it was the real thing and it would stick around forever. The state began spending the money it brought in from the oil activity on programs that needed sustainable funding, and then the booms went bust.

The state was unable to sustain government spending at the level it had risen to so it had two choices: make budget cuts or raise taxes. When the oil boom of the 1980s went bust, the decision was to raise taxes. The residents of this state thought that was a poor choice and passed an initiated measure that prevented those tax increases from taking effect. This resulted in across-the-board budget cuts that severely affected the very groups that are so opposed to saving some of the money now.

Now it is happening again. Oil prices rose, new technology made North Dakota's oil fields more productive, oil companies began drilling wells again, and oil production in the state is currently reaching a new all-time high every day. However, in the past few months the price per barrel of oil has dropped by more than half. Hopefully it will not go so low that it is no longer profitable to drill new wells. Something about this seems familiar.

ADVERTISEMENT

Albert Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." We have the opportunity to make a change. With a yes vote on Measure 1, you will be saying that you want to do things differently than we have in the past; that you want to save some of the money North Dakota receives from oil taxes in order to ensure our economic prosperity for generations to come.

MacIver is president of the N.D. Chamber

of Commerce.

What To Read Next
North Dakota's judges rank near the bottom in pay and salaries aren't enough to attrack lawyers from private practice to serve on the bench.
SB 2301, supported by (GASP!) Democrats, is the best solution on the table in Bismarck
A couple of bills introduced quietly would help feed students in public schools
Mikkel Pates set the standard for agricultural journalism during his 44-year career in the region, working for Agweek, The Forum and the Worthington Globe.