Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Creation of jobs - good, private sector, long lasting, well paying jobs is how many describe the purpose, if not the goal, of economic development.  It’s important to consider what it is about jobs that link them to economic development or vice versa. 

Jobs are how individuals earn so they can exchange for goods and services they need or want.  The more one earns the more goods and services he can access.  Likewise, the more job options on has the more likely he can maximize what he earns.  What we earn determines our standard of living. 

Anything that:
1.      Limits our access to job options, or
2.      Reduces (i.e. takes what we earn) our ability to spend our earnings as we see fit, diminishes our standard of living.
Individuals, not government create jobs.  Jobs are the critical ingredient which determine our standard of living.  Government can play an important part in facilitating job creating.  However, government’s role must be limited and remain so. 
Necessary public goods and services are very few.  They include:

·         A functional, accessible and predictable legal system
·         A system to ensure the accuracy of weights and measures
·         A monetary system that is certain, secure and based on something other than  fiat,
·         A patent and copyright system,
·         An efficient transportation system,
·         A trustworthy policing and judicial system.

Everything added to public services directly reduces the wage earners standard of living. 

Tragically Americans appear to suffer from the false belief that government, through mandate, interference, taxation directed at encouraging or discouraging free choices, and using revenues (and debt) to fund activities that would never be undertaken by choice facilitate economic development.  Each and every one of these government actions directly reduces our standard of living.

Government interference in the private economy in the name of facilitating or stimulating economic development is truly Orwellian.  Over the past hundred years government has slowly crept into the production sector of our economy destroying its vitality.  What was once the greatest innovation and wealth producing environment the world had ever seen is has become a ghost of itself.  

Economic development isn’t government driven.  True economic development can’t occur when government picks winners and losers.  It isn’t just the federal government that is destroying or productive sector it’s also state and local governmental bodies.

Property taxes are used in North Dakota by counties and cities to stimulate what these governmental bodies claim is economic development.  They reduce property taxes for their selected “winners”.  It does attract investment.  It also increases the taxes on everyone else.  Thus, it directly reduces the standard of living for everyone else. 

Removing burdens (such as property tax) attract business.  Yet, removing the property tax from one, the way North Dakota’s property tax system works results in everyone else’s tax burden increasing.

So what do we do?  The answer is really quite simple.  Government is too big, takes too much, regulates too much, and engages in policy decisions deliberately designed to encourage or discourage choices that are none of its business.

If Americans want an increasing standard of living we must dramatically shrink government size.  This requires we make drastic reductions in what government takes and what government is permitted to spend.  

When considering “what we will allow government to take” we must carefully consider the method(s) we allow government to us in taking our wealth.  Not all taxes are alike.  Some are much more damaging in their consequences than others.  Property tax is the most harmful of any tax ever devised.

For this reason Empower the Taxpayer is working to abolish this heinous tax.  Measure 2 will impose enormous incentives to our state legislature to reduce spending by reducing special interest funding and encouraging efficiency at the state level. 

Measure 2 intentionally directs our legislators to decide which state revenues and resources will be used to replace what is currently being funded with property tax revenue.  At the same time it requires the legislature to fully and properly fund the legally imposed obligations of counties, cities, towns and other political sub divisions.  This will give the legislature an incentive to not impose unnecessary duties and obligation on local governmental bodies.  Measure 2, for the first time in state history, constitutionally guarantees expenditure of these revenues will be at the sole discretion of the local governing bodies.  This puts control over how they spend exactly where it belongs – in the hands of those that elect them.

There is no need to increase any tax following abolition of property taxes.  Increases in state taxes will come ONLY if we allow our elected legislators to improperly prioritize how they spend our precious tax dollars. 

We live in a democracy.  It is our responsibility to manage those we elect.  The amount of our tax dollars going to special interests far exceeds what’s raised through property taxes. 

If our legislators chose, they can easily replace property tax revenues with some of the oil and gas revenues with which our state is blessed.

As the Television Marketers say – “and there’s more”!  And there really is.  Study after study shows the economic growth that abolishing property taxes stimulates will within just a few years result in more revenue than the revenue property taxes had generated.

Measure 2 isn’t a miracle, isn’t a silver bullet and isn’t magic.  But it is the closest thing to that when it comes to fixing our broken tax system.

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