Letter: Burgum declining his salary is not 'grandstanding;' it's common sense
People are letting politics get the best of them and their common sense. In recent weeks, legislators in Bismarck have been grumbling over Gov. Doug Burgum’s request to remove his salary from the state budget. Rather than simply honor this request, some legislators would like to force Burgum to take a paycheck and then donate it to whatever cause he sees fit. The reason for this consternation? “Misdirected intellectual energy,” according to Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo.
The fact is, fulfilling this request requires no intellectual energy. Removing the governor’s salary is a simple, procedural process. It hurts no one while also saving taxpayers money. If Gov. Burgum was forced to take his salary, the only real winner would be the IRS. That money, once paid to Gov. Burgum, would be subject to federal and state taxes. Rather than saving the taxpayers $450,000 over the course of Burgum’s tenure, some of our state legislators would rather hand a chunk of our money over to the federal government.
Not taking a salary isn’t “political grandstanding.” It’s common sense. Gov. Burgum doesn’t need the money, he pledged not to take the money, and he doesn’t want to waste our tax dollars on the IRS. A conservative legislature in a conservative state should have no qualms about getting more money out of government and keeping it in the hands of we the people.