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Gary Adkisson: The bamboozle has captured us

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Have you recovered from the sticker shock of your new property tax bill?

With the millions upon millions of dollars the various taxing entities received as part of the coronavirus stimulus, I thought the tax increases would be minimal.

Jason Hornbacher, Bismarck Public Schools superintendent, spoke at Bismarck noon Rotary recently and explained how they plan to use the $30 million they received -- new schools and school improvements.

My Bismarck Public Schools tax increase is 11.19%, just a hair less than my Bismarck Park District increase of 11.2%. Good thing that $140 million rec center project failed at the ballot box.

My state of North Dakota taxes climbed 11.19%, never mind that the state received over $1 billion in COVID relief from the feds and is still sitting on hundreds of millions of it.

We got essentially the same increase by the Water Resource District (11.2%) and Garrison Diversion (11.19%). You’re welcome, Fargo.

The real eye popper is the Soil Conservation District with a 75.2% increase, but on the plus side it is an increase of only $7.66.

The big increases that have a real impact are the city and county.

My city taxes are increasing by 26.14% while the county is increasing by 24.14%. It amounts to an increase of $97.68 for the county and $234.26 for the city.

The city of Bismarck received about $10 million from the American Rescue Plan while the county got about $19 million.

Lest you need any proof that tax-and-spend politicians can be either Republican or Democrat, you need to look no further than the Bismarck City Commission, Burleigh County Commission and the North Dakota Legislature.

I’m reminded of the old Ronald Reagan quote, “The difference in spending habits between government and a drunken sailor is, at least a drunken sailor spends his own money.”

I will dutifully pay my tax bill, as will most Bismarck residents, but it doesn’t mean cuts won’t have to be made elsewhere in our budgets.

I quit watering my lawn after my cumulative water bill exceeded $1,500 for the season.

Property taxes, water rates, special assessments; there seems to be no end to the money grab by our ruby red “conservative” governmental bodies.

Social media warriors threaten action. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Perhaps Carl Sagan said it best, “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

I’m not sure we will ever get it back.

Gary Adkisson is publisher of The Bismarck Tribune.


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