Gov. Jack Dalrymple, First Lady want us to ‘create the future’
|Gov. Dalrymple and the North Dakota Legislature will work on significant infrastructure investment and tax relief during the 2013 session. (Photo by J.C. Balcom)
First Lady’s priorities
Over her first two years as First Lady, and now continuing through the governor’s first full term, First Lady Betsy Dalrymple’s focus is on young child and teen development.
The First Lady is currently promoting Dolly Parton's Imagination Library throughout the state. This program accomplishes the mailing of free, age-appropriate books to any enrolled child between the ages of 0-5. The yearly cost to the community for this service is only $25 per child. Twenty-eight North Dakota communities are currently participating.” It's a wonderful way for kids to start loving books,” she said.
The First Lady is also promoting teenage volunteerism. “I feel if any person learns to volunteer at a young age, they'll continue to do it as they grow into adulthood,” she said.
Tax relief; moving state ahead
Calling it “a core issue with us,” Gov. Dalrymple is asking this Legislature to stay on a bold path of tax reduction for the state’s citizens. He is proposing an additional $372 million in local property tax relief, coming after the last biennium’s $342 million in local property tax obligations shifted to the state.
“I think the state can and should pick up a greater share of the cost of K-12 education. Why? Because we can. We have the resources to do that. We will continue to have the resources to do that,” Gov. Dalrymple said. “There's no reason why we have to place as much burden on local taxpayers as we are doing today.”
Dalrymple said this would result in local school district mill levies that would need to be no more than 50 to 60 mills. “I’m very hopeful that this Legislature will carry through with this,” Gov. Dalrymple said.
Gov. Dalrymple said he visits with people who wonder about coupling such a bold initiative with the high levels of infrastructure and services investment the state needs to make. For North Dakotans who endured economic difficulties in the 1980s and ’90s, the present circumstances are unfamiliar, he pointed out.
“As governor, what I have to explain to people is, yes, we actually can do all of that. Our reserve funds are actually growing at the same time that we’re making all of these proposals,” Gov. Dalrymple said.
“It takes a little getting used to,” he said, “to really believe that all these things are possible for us, over the long haul. I think the great news is that it is true. We need to embrace it. We need to really be proud of our state and think in terms of the possibilities. We – all of us together – can literally create the future that we want for our state.”