To the editor:
I am tremendously excited at the prospect of the tallest building in North Dakota someday soon coming to downtown Fargo. I have no doubt that this will be a fantastic addition to the area and will draw in new business to our city. I know this project will be a great success for the Kilbourne Group. All the more reason why public tax dollars should be left out of the equation.
My stance on special incentives for private development is not limited to the Kilbourne Group, a fine company that has done as much for downtown as any organization. On the contrary, I don’t begrudge them or anyone else for seeking incentives. Why shouldn’t they if the Commission is so willing to give them out? I am guessing you reading this take the full deduction on their tax returns. This is a local government problem, not a business practice problem.
In my role as Commissioner, I have been approached by multiple large and small developers who are interested in how taxpayers can further their dealings. In each case, I have held a consistent view and I want to explain my position to the taxpayers of Fargo.
Instead of offering special deals to a City Commission chosen select few I have fought for a consistently low, predictable, and sustainable tax rate. From my perspective, that is how government can aid in generating long term growth and wealth for any community.
My approach also offers a market driven, organic, and fair playing field where residents choose where to spend their money (not the government) based on their own needs, wants, and fiscal situation. I agree with people who say that infill is popular and smart growth. Where we disagree is how that happens, and I believe that if infill is the most popular, economical, and attractive option, the free market will bear that out, free from government intervention.
Simply put, it is directly contradictory to suggest that infill is the most popular and economical option, but the free market cannot sustain it, obviously implying subsidizes are required. That is the quintessence of doublethink.
Proponents for special incentives claim:
Development will bring in new business, jobs, and money. True, however this is true for any development, the vast majority of which are not publicly subsidized. No matter if it is a new home, restaurant, or a skyscraper, all of these help drive our economy. Let it be known, the majority of businesses in Fargo are small businesses. They are no more or less important than large businesses. Should we incentivize all development because it helps grow our economy? Of course not. Couldn’t happen; therefore the de facto position of the Fargo Commission has been to pick winners and losers. The irony, if we had 20% lower property tax, if my plan was in place, these incentives would not be necessary. We need not pick winners and losers.
“But for”? Would this happen “but for” incentives? Developers will always say, “No”. The reality is most of projects that ask for tax incentives are profitable day one, just not to the extent that the developer would like. If we add incentives it simply increases the net profit faster at the expense of you who are paying the full tax rate for your home or business. This is nothing short of corporate welfare. Additionally, we run the risk of creating an economic bubble, which is what I fear we are doing downtown when pumping unnatural tax dollars in.
I am for eliminating or reducing all incentive programs and in their place a new tax system that is consistently low, sustainable, and predictable like the 20% property tax reduction I suggested and Dave Piepkorn supported. That is how government can help grow the economy in Fargo over the long term.
Taxpayers are not piggy banks. Commissioners are not investment bankers. This is not the role of local government.
Fargo City Commissioner
August 15th 2018
July 14th 2018
July 11th 2018
July 5th 2018
May 16th 2018
FARGO – On Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 5:33 a.m., Fargo Police officers responded to medical assist at the McDonalds located at 905 Main Avenue. Once on scene, officers located a male, in his twenties, laying in the parking…
by HPR Contributor
by Ryan Jankeryanjanke@hpr1.comPhoto by Anne BradleyValkyries of the Valley will invade the North Dakota Apartment Wrestling Federation (NDAWF) for Brawl-esque, a variety show that will be held at Prairie Brothers Brewing Company…
by Sabrina Hornung
It’s bad enough when his word versus her word regarding sexual assault gets out in a high school hallway, but can you imagine it spreading throughout the national news media? Imagine reliving those events every time you turn on…
FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…
By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…
by Andrew Alexis Varvelmr.firstname.lastname@example.org“If a piece of equipment purchased in the 1920s is kept up and can guarantee, at present, an operable rate close to 100 percent and if it can bear the production burden placed on…