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Golden Valley News
Beach, North Dakota
March 12, 2009     Golden Valley News
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March 12, 2009
 
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March 12, 2009 Page 3 ()PINION Stimulus includes North Other views By Rep. Shirley Meyer Dakota's priorities Over three naonths at the end of last year, I held town hall meetings in more than 50 North Dakota towns and cities - visiting almost every county in North Dakota to hear directly from community leaders and everyday citizens. County commissioners talked about putting road-building proj- ects on hold because of the cost of asphalt. College presidents told me they couldn't afford to heat aging and inefficient campus buildings. And I heard from local business- owners concerned that the nation's declining economy would hurt the economy of North Dakota. All these conversations - hun- dreds of them - helped me decide to eventually support the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. What also prompted me to vote for the stimulus bill were the dire fore- casts of learned economists as diverse as Dr. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Economy.corn and a former advis- er to the presidential campaign of Republican Senator John McCain, and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve and a leading scholar of the Great Depression. Finally, I was struck by the news that North Dakota manufac- turers have already experienced the aftershocks of a shrinking global economy and have fur- loughed workers; we would be foolish to believe we are immune to the troubles beyond our borders. The stimulus bill was not with- out its critics, including me. Most importantly, I believed that the leg- islation needed to be focused more on the housing crisis that started our economic downturn. The bill needed to invest the money rapidly in order to stimu- late the economy. It needed to be directed at spe- cific projects that are proven job- creators; like road- and bridge- building. It needed to have a sun- set: the stimulus spending had to be a one-time effort. But in the end, I had to weigh the risk of not acting against the concerns I had with the package. And I had to consider all of the positive impacts the bill would have on our state. In fact, the stimulus bill goes right to the heart of many of the conversations I heard in my three months going town-to-town in North Dakota, including: more than $170 million toward road :improvement projects in North Dakota - a critical, job- creating need, as many county commissioners told me; more than $85 million the state government can use to help our public universities and col- leges meet high-priority projects, from making buildings more ener- gy efficient to updating classroom technology; more than $25 million toward weatherizing homes to improve ener- gy efficiency, and more than $24 Other Views By Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. All these conver- sations - hun- dreds of them - helped me decide. to eventually sup port the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. million :in energy-related funding; more than $39 million for high priority water projects; more than $266 million in middle-class tax relief, or about $860 for the average family at a rate of savings of more than $70 a month; and $156 mil- lion in relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax. The bill also includes hundreds of'-millions of dollars for North Dakota health care and to update the electrical transmission grid. There is no doubt in my mind that these are important priorities for North Dakota that deserve my support. While this stimulus legislation will add to our national debt in the short term, we must not lose sight of the critical need to bring our budget under control in the long term. As Chairman of the Senate Budget' Committee, I will continue to insist on addressing the long-term fiscal imbalance facing our country. The bill is not perfect; rarely is any legislation perfect when it is the product of ............. between people of diverse opinion. But it is better than the alternative, which is to do nothing. President Hoover did nothing while the country's economy slid into what today we call the Great Depression. Economists told me that we risked a similar economic collapse if we did not act. We have good reason to believe that news will get worse before it gets better. But the stimulus bill will help turn our national economy around, and lay the groundwork for stronger economic growth in the future. It will help soften the impact we feel in North Dakota of any future aftershocks of the declining national economy. And it includes the priorities of North Dakota - priorities echoed by dozens and dozens of local leaders that I heard from in county after county across the state. Capitol Notebook By Dave Drovdal Other Views By Lloyd Omdahl How to contact your North Dakota Congressional delegation Sen. Kent Conrad United States Senate 530 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510-3403 202-224-2043 https:llconrad.senate.govlcontact/webform.cfm NII :=::::l !1 ! li tl Bill requires schools to reduce tax 00evy Greetings from the 61 st ily member. Hopefully it would be Legislature as we work through the second half of the 2009 session Day 41 passed on Friday, March 6, with 287 Senate bills that have to be acted upon, and then we can start on the bills that the two houses haven't agreed upon. I call that the overtime period of this session The governor's proposed $300 million in property tax relief will have its hearing in the House on Monday the 9th. Some details include that the dollars will go to the school districts, and they will be required to reduce their property tax request to the taxpayers by an equal amount. The limit the school dis- tricts receive is no more that the value of 75 mills and the reduction can't lower the districts mill levy below 100 mills. It will also cap the school districts from raising the mill levy above 110 mills, unless the vot- ers approve a higher anaount, and if the voters approve an unlimited mill levy, the district would have to request a new vote every t0 years. An example would be if your school district levees 156 mills, they would qualify for up to 56-mill reduction and that district's mill levy would be 100 mills. Schools that tax fewer than 100 mills would get noth- ing and schools over 175 mills would only get the value that 75 mills would bring into the district. This example is not always true because of other requirements in the bill but in most cases it would stand up. The House Natural Resources Committee listened to a bill that would allow hunters over 15 to qual- ify for an apprentice hunting license one time. The license would be for big game and the person would not be required to have a hunter's safety course but would have to hunt with a qualifying adult. It could be used by a persOn who moved Out ofState and came back to hunt with another fam- a memorable experience and they would get the hunter's education training and come back year after year. The apprentice license would be for resident or non-resident hunters. Sometimes a person just chuckles about some proposed legislation that is strictly partisan. An example would be the bill introduced by the minority party to have the next redistricting in North Dakota done by an independent oup, and when the bill is defeated, they holler foul. On the national level the roles of the parties are reversed and so is the platforms of each. I appreciated hearing from many of you this week on your concerns and enjoyed seeing a large number of constituents that visited the Capitol Remember the number to leave messages is 1-888-635-3447. My e-mail address is ddrov- dal@nd.gov, and I would like to hear from you on issues that you have a concern about. Life is hard, then you die My daughter, Becky, startled me with a bit of uncharacteristic fatal- ism when she summed up the human condition with the expres- sion "life is hard, then you die." For a gal who has conquered many a personal challenge, the expression was out of character, given her "" ' V " buoyant battle against life sad ersl- ties. At first, I thought the summation was a little on the dark side. Upon reflection, however, my opinion is changing as I see the hard situations confronting some folks in these troublesome times. For example, President Obama is finding life hard as he searches for cabinet appointees who have paid their taxes. It's okay not to pay taxes in the Cayman Islands but not so in New Mexico, South Dakota or New York. Apparently, some folks haven't found their loopholes. It leads the rest of us to suspect that there must be a lot of unpaid taxes out there. In Georgia alone, it was discovered recently that 19 leg- islators had not paid income taxes. Maybe the stimulus program could be funded if we just recovered all of the unpaid taxes from public offi- cials and aspiring federal appointees. Illinois is finding life hard as it tries to locate a United State Senator in a state that doesn't have a politi- The University of North Dakota is finding life hard as it tries to find a replacement for the "Fighting Sioux" logo. Every good macho nickname has already been taken. cmn qualified Ibr the job. Those that are adept and smart are in prison. (If you are interested in the job, be sure to enclose a check with your appli- cation). If Diogenes appeared on Michigan Avenue looking for an honest man, someone would steal his lantern. Illinois politics has set the theory of evolution back several centuries. Outdoor lovers around Devils Lake are finding life hard as they try to locate a dry spot for a lakeshore cabin. With the unruly lake deciding its own jurisdiction every spring, it's hard to know whether a cabin should be put on concrete, wheels or pontoons. The University of North Dakota is finding life hard as it tries to find a replacement for the "Fighting Sioux" logo. Every good macho nickname has already been taken. When the only possibilities left are the Horrible Huns, Plains Peons or NoDak Nukes, there is need for delay. In Bismarck, legislators are find- ing life hard as they try to think through the 1000 proposals that have been put on their plates this session. Legislatures are expected to be deliberative bodies, but there can be little deliberation over such a wide array of topics during the 4-month dash in the biennial Bismarck marathon. Deliberation gets short shrift as good bills are killed and bad bills are passed. In the rush, they become indistinguishable. Life is going to be hard for a lot of us if the stock market doesn't turn around soon. More than a few folks will be aeeing with Becky that life is hard and then we will die. We are all hoping that Bernie Madoff, perpetrator of the $40 bil- lion investment scam, will be among us. Trying to mal(e it through winter Hello, I'm writing this early Monday morning. The wind chill is seven- teen below and it is supposed to get worse the next couple days. We're checking heifers pretty steady dur- ing the night. I'm sure glad that we did not get the heifers synchronized last year so they would calf in a nice, tight group. Sometimes it pays to be lazy. I know that a nice even set of calves is something to strive for, but I'll take a live, albeit it late, calf any day! Over the weekend we were work- ing a few cattle. Somehow, Shirley forgot to pour the bulls last fall. Pouring the cattle with an insecti- cide rids them of lice. But when you forget some, the lice spread, and by spring you are feeding a lot of the little buggers. Anyway, we were pouring some cattle around the yard and our nephew, Chad, came to help. Now Chad and his family, like many of your relatives, have been away from agriculture quite awhile. I know, I know, you hear this all the time, and many don't worry about agricul- ture because they get their food at the grocery store, but you have to hear this story. When we were just ready to start working these cattle, I checked on a heifer I had locked in the barn. Lo and behold, our first calf of the year! Now, even when you've been ranch- ing your entire life, that is an excit- ing moment. I know a farmer strains his eyes watching for that first wheat to show in a freshly seeded field. Hat Tips By Dean Meyer I know a farmer strains his eyes watching for that first wheat to show in a freshly seeded field. And a gardener is out there waiting for the radishes to peek above the soil. I suppose it is the same deal, a satisfying feeling. And an anxious one with a storm looming. I just had to share this with the kids. So Will went up to the house to get his son and Chad's two kids. Welt, Evan, who is two, is no stranger to cattle. He goes with me to the cow sale most weeks. And he can run the gate, when I'm sorting cattle, pretty good for a two-year-old kid. He knows Herefords and Angus and Brahma and Longhorns. He knows the bulls are the dads, and the cows are the morns. I mean, he is a cowboy. Chad's little girl is a long two, or maybe a short three. She grew up in Denver in the shadow of the Rockies, surrounded by a million people who don't get their nourish- ment from cows, but from the gro- cery store. So she was in awe of this newborn baby. After watching the newborn baby for a bit, they headed back for the house. Grandma Shirley asked Allie if she saw the new baby. Allie replied, "Yes, and the mama bear was licking it off!" I tell you what; I am going to have fun teaching that little girl some stuff the next few months! Bundle up; it's cold out there! Later, Dean Senate Bill 2396 the right move for children "Four villagers working along a river bank see children floating by and out of sight. The first villager works frantically to pull out as many as they can. The second villager decides the best approach is to teach the children to swim The third vil- lager rallies the rest of the village to understand the plight of the children, but the fourth villager marches upriv- er to find out who's throwing them in." This week, the House Human Services Committee will be hearing SB 2396, and I hope this committee and the rest of the North Dakota Legislature will join the fourth vil- lager and help us find out who's throwing them in and save our chil- dren fi'om this plight. This is the case of child abuse/neglect and oat of home placement for children in North Dakota. Historically, child welfare servic- es in North Dakota have dealt with problems after they have already developed, and in some cases, have become extremely serious even to the point of death. This is a loshag proposition as long as we continue to deal with family issues with inade- quate resources for prevention, early intervention and family support North Dakota and its public and pri- vate partners have the ability, the willingness and the skills to do more in the area of prevention and family support. It is imperative that North Dakota embrace a comprehensive vision to improve the well being of children and families. The cost, both human and finan- cial for children and families who have serious problems, is greater than the costs of preventing problems before they develop. It may be a wiser use of taxpayer dollars to pre- vent something from happening than it is to pay for it after the fact. In 2008; I became a member of a group of public, private, and legisla- tive leaders, concerned about the needs of children and families. We began looking at the best systems that support children's and families' needs. Our group is now called The North Dakota Family Impact Initiative and over the course of the last year we have studied foster care, prevention of child abuse/neglect, and ways to prevent out of home child placements. SB 2396 is a move in the right direction by providing some addi- tional funds to develop systems that keep children out of substitute care whenever safely possible. This begins with a conviction and commit- ment to maintain the family. If we can keep one child out of jail (the river) then we will have succeed- ed. Remember what your grandma always used to say,"An ounce of pre- vention is worth a pound of cure!" I can be reached at 1-888-635- 3447 or sjmeyer@nd.gov. Golden Valley News P.O. Box 156, Beach, ND 58621 (U.S.P.S. Pub. No. 221-280) Staff: Richard Volesky, editor/reporter/advertising manager: Jane Cook and Sheri Leistikow, office assis- tants. The Golden Valley News is published each Thursday, 22 Central Ave., Suite 1, Beach, ND 58621 by Nordmark Publishing, Rolla, ND. Periodicals postage paid at Beach, ND and additional mail- ing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Golden Valley News, P.O. Box 156, Beach, ND 58621. Please allow two to three weeks for new subscriptions, renewal of expired subscrip- tions and for address changes. Contact Information Phone: 701-872-3755 Fax: 701-872-3756 Emaih gvnews@midstate.net Subsc'riptions 1 year: $31 Golden Valley arid Wibaux counties 1 year: $34 elsewhere in North Dakota 1 year: $37 out-of-state 9 months: $19 In-state college rate The Golden Valley News is a proud member of the North Dakota Newspaper Association.