We are going to forget about the Burgum Recession before most of us feel its full effects. The wealth transfer from the honest-to-goodness demand sector of working and retired people to the supposed supply side super-rich in Congress’ tax bill will overwhelm our local recession.
But before we forget, let’s document the obvious. In 2017 we see fewer help-wanted signs and more house-for-sale signs in Bismarck. The problem is not the slump in oil development, it is the response to the slump by Gov. Doug Burgum and Rep. Al Carlson. They drove us into a ditch.
According to Zillow, our home has lost 10 percent of its value this year and our neighbors’ homes being up for sale for months on end confirm that analysis. But, our property taxes won’t reflect that. Instead, they will go way up, thanks to the Burgum-Carlson budget. It didn’t have to be like this.
They laid off state workers, froze state employee wages and the Burgum budget even tried to cut their compensation by $60 a month. State employee wages fuel the local economy. Freezing their wages means they can’t even keep up with inflation.
Hundreds of millions cut from schools and colleges. Frozen wages. Increased property taxes from withdrawing state support. All unnecessary.
The people created the Legacy Fund to smooth over the revenue bumps we know come from oil taxes. It is a rainy-day fund. In 2017, Burgum and Carlson could have used $900 million from the Legacy Fund and the fund would still grow. They knew it was raining. But, they didn’t open the umbrella. We are getting wet.
Tracy Potter, Bismarck