Michael J. Williams letter: Track the results of tax break plans
Regarding Sen. Tim Flakoll's, R-Fargo, proposal for a fiscal note requirement on any initiated measures: Sometimes good ideas don't have a determinable price tag as there are too many variables to accurately forecast the number and scope ...
Regarding Sen. Tim Flakoll's, R-Fargo, proposal for a fiscal note requirement on any initiated measures:
Sometimes good ideas don't have a determinable price tag as there are too many variables to accurately forecast the number and scope of the potential participants. Does Sen. Flakoll know even today what the total cost of public tax dollars exempted on the Renaissance Zone is in Fargo? What was the fiscal note on that legislation?
It's preposterous to ask for an accurate cost estimate solely for initiated measures and not hold the Legislature accountable in the same manner. Are projected numbers ever manipulated to be used in a political nature, used to sway votes? A more worthy idea may be establishing mandatory tracking for all the tax exemptions/incentives and the total cost to the taxpayers in North Dakota.
One of the more important statistics I look at is: Are taxes increasing faster than wages? The theory of economic development is to increase the tax base by growing the economy. Taxes should not rise as a percentage of income if the particular strategy is working. In a 10 year span:
E My home assessed value, up 54 percent.
E My Fargo property taxes, up 83 percent.
E Fargo city budget: 1990: $50.4 million 2002: $113.4 million, up 124 percent.
E Fargo population: 1990: 74,111 2000: 90,599 up 22.2 percent.
E N.D. average annual pay: 1990: $17,626 state rank: 49th. 1999: $23,753, up 34 percent state rank: 48th (according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
A credible tracking system determining all the cost of case by case public exemption/incentive funding would help to determine an accurate return on investment for the citizens dollars. With mandatory tracking we can determine effective programs that deliver good paying jobs and grow the tax base and quit funding the unproductive ones.
Michael J. Williams