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Walsh County Press
Park River , North Dakota
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July 12, 2017     Walsh County Press
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July 12, 2017
 

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Page 6 THE WALSH COUNTY PRESS WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 2017 By Janne Myrdal Sen. District 10 BISMARCK, N.D. -- I want- ed to give everyone an update on legislative issues since we left the 65th Session at the end of April. There has been discussion in the news of the vetoes by Governor Bur.gum as well as possibility of commg back into legislative ses- sion for budgetary reasons. Today as I write this update the 2017-19 biennium has started and we are carefully watching the com- modities, especially the price of oil. Our budget is predicated in part on oil averaging $47 barrel during the biennium. We took the conservative route and estimated lower than predicted oil prices when we set the budget for the bi- ennium, yet the price ofoil is be- low even our conservative esti- mation. It is easier to predict weather than this commodity as it is a vast international market, af- fected daily by international con- flicts and priorities set by oil na- tions not stable enough to predict. It remains to be seen if we need to go back in and adjust the budget. Hopefully oil climbs back up and we continue to see an increase in agricultural commodity prices. Legislative Management met and set the Interim Committees. I serve on Judiciary and AG corre- sponding with my committees during Session. Both commit- tees will have important issues to study. One issue that affects all farmers and that we have heard numerous concerns about is the sampling and testing of harvest- ed grains. We will look at the practices and procedures therein with the potential to increase con- sistency and reduce variability in the sampling and testing of grains for deoxynivalenol (DON/vomitoxin), falling num- bers, and protein. In Judiciary, the key issues for study are provisions of Century Code that relate to firearms and weapons, eliminating provisions that are irrelevant or duplicative, clarifying provisions that are in- consistent or unclear in their intent libert} is great but also a bit scary because it's up to you aname to kee it that way. Yet here in this lit- tle blessed corner of :he world I think we are doing a pretty good job together at doing just that." and direction, the impact of Mar- ficult task set before them on the cy's Law on the statutorily rights local level during this economic of crime victims and the criminal downtrend, working to responsi- procedures relating to the fights of bly balance their budgets, mini- victims and criminal defendants, mize expenditures based on needs And lastly the various legal notice and urgently reduce debt. and publishing requirements of all To protect our system of gov- state agencies and political sub- emment it is urgent that we stay divisions, the related costs re- within the boundaries of our giv- quired in state and political sub- en authority and be committed to division budgets, and potential no- the transparency and accounta- tification alternatives. These all af- bility thereof. At the state and lo- feet our lives one way or another cal level both, this requires fiscally and are serious issues indeed, long term responsible approach- Meanwhile, many constituents es. There are no one size fits all have asked about the property as- approaches. There were bills dur- sessments currently ongoing in ing the Session that suggested we many counties. What are the override local control of proper- rights of citizens, and who is re- ty taxation with a cap, but there sponsible for property tax collec- was no complete data presented tions? This may be a bit lengthy that this was the needed nor ef- but I think it urgent to communi- fective way to relieve burdens on cate the core functions of ND the tax payers. We did pass a sec- elected officials and our individ- tion to the OMB (Office of Man- ual branches' responsibilities as it agement and Budget) bill that relates to this issue. Property tax- require local subdivisions to report es are local issues as the legisla- their spending based on the for- ture does not assess nor collect mula used in the (failed) cap bill property tax monies. As state leg- so we can see how many go over islators, we set the rules and the proposed 3% cap and then boundaries, and then allow local have the facts to properly and in- leaders the ability to decide, tellectually evaluate the possible Property Tax Equalization need for said cap. It gives us the across taxing jurisdictions has opportunity for the next Session been in the past difficult to keep to take a closer look at this issue current and sometimes that means with facts in hand. Bottom line is your local sub divisions will ad- I remain committed to the concept just your assessed value. How- that local government knows best. ever, just because the value of your The Legislature focused on home goes up doesn't mean your keeping the property taxes and ba- taxes must go up. Local elected sic services local, while relieving leaders should decide their budg- the counties of the costs associated ets, and during these times ofeco- with the state and federal social nomic challenges, be prudent in services mandate. This was a per- the process, cut where possible manent property tax reform re- and then assess the tax. The 65th moving up to 20 mills of levy in Legislature cut the state budget by each county. This does replace a approximately $1.7 billion. There large portion of the 12% buydown are no doubts local taxation au- program. Permanency was the thorities-- cities, counties and key component driving thismove, school districts-have the same dif- as well as removing an unfunded mandate on the counties. I do have concems that our rural areas will continue to receive same quality services and will careful- ly watch the progress. As far as assessments ongoing in our district, if there are concerns or grievances please attend your local city, school and county meetings. Ask questions. Ex- press your concerns. Give and get information. They work for you. I work for you. Ihighlyval- ue any input and am consistently grateful for the wisdom, common sense ideas and concems that come my way. We are all in this together. We just celebrated Fourth of July, our annual celebration of Lib- erty. I am reminded of a Mrs. Elizabeth Powel of Philadelphia who, at the close of the Constitu- tional Convention of 1787, asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" With no hesitation, whatsoever, Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it." Profound words yet so simple. It is in each of our hands to "keep it" as we go about our daily lives. It is representative government and liberty, hand in hand, - an exper- iment that has worked for almost 250 years, sustaining the most prosperous free nation in the world. Yes, liberty is great but also a bit scary because it's up to you and me to keep it that way. Yet here in this little blessed cor- ner of the world I think we are do- ing a pretty good job together at doing just that. Continue to enjoy your sum- mer! And please contact me with any issues or concerns. jmyrdal@nd.gov 701 331 0946 Editor Note: Myrdal is a Sen- ator in the North Dakota Senate for District 10. i L ~V~:~i~!:!i:#~:~i!~ii~i~ii~iii~i~%~:~i!i~i~i~!~i~i!i~!~!%~!!~i~!~{~? :