Dalrymple’s “2020 & Beyond” Plan Sounds Suspiciously Like Divvying Up The Oil Loot Among Cronies
“For the past decade we’ve been aggressive in our economic development efforts,” Governor Jack Dalrymple said in Minot while pitching his “2020 & Beyond” plan produced by an unholy alliance of Big Government, Big Business and Big Media. “But today with budget surpluses, job increases, tax relief accomplished, the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, and being frequently named the top-ranking state in economic surveys, people now agree that our efforts have been successful and our strategies have brought us to an unprecedented opportunity to vision for our future.”
If you were hoping that Dalrymple’s plan, or his “vision” as he likes to call it, might include at least a partial embrace of free market, conservative principles and promote tax relief, you can put those hopes away now. According to Dalrymple, tax relief has been accomplished. This despite the Tax Foundation ranking North Dakota in the bottom half of the country, 29th, in terms of a friendly tax environment.
So if there’s no tax relief in the offing, I guess all we have to look forward to is more government spending under the guise of economic development. And what will that spending be on? The details of the plan aren’t available until after the
cronies steering committee completes their tour of the state in the coming months (though I suspect that tour is just a formality and they know exactly what they want to do) in the Grand Forks Herald article about the Governor’s “vision” we get some clues.
“We know we’ve got plenty of jobs available today, over 20,000 according to Job Service (North Dakota),” he told the Herald editorial board Monday. “But we’re ready to move on, I think, past our traditional cores of energy, agricultural, distribution and move into some newer opportunities. These are things we think will provide an opportunity for nearly every single interest out there.”
Energy and, to a lesser extent, agriculture produce most of the tax revenues in this state. And now the governor is intent on spreading those tax dollars out to other endeavors. Endeavors we can put a finger on based on who the governor included on his board.
The Chamber of Commerce and the economic development cheerleaders from Forum Communications are on board, so you can bet a big chunk of the money will go to special government loans and other special favors for businesses. State Senator Tony “Champagne” Grindberg from NDSU’s Technolgoy and Research Parkis on board, so you can bet that higher education in North Dakota will get their cut too.
Oh, and as if this coalition to redistribute wealth from oil production to economic development cronyism wasn’t bad enough, the Governor would like you to know that oil isn’t really the reason why North Dakota has been so economically successful in recent years:
“How do you explain the fact that our unemployment is low in virtually every county except for perhaps a reservation county?” he asked. “I really feel strongly that oil is like gravy. That’s on top of everything else we’ve accomplished.”
Tiny Williston, North Dakota with a population (even with the influx of oil workers) of under 40,000 is producing more sales tax revenue than Fargo, with a metro population of around 200,000.
But yeah, it’s been the Hoeven/Dalrymple administration’s relentless spending on higher education and economic development that has made the state successful.
Let’s face it, without the oil boom North Dakota wouldn’t be at the top of any national economic measure.Tags: 2020 & Beyond, bill marcil jr, forum communications, jack dalrymple, north dakota chamber of commerce, North Dakota News