Letters to the Tribune
Riemers for State Auditor
Libertarian Roland Riemers has filed for North Dakota State Auditor,
and is the first candidate of the 3 recognized North Dakota political parties to file for this position.
Riemers has run as a Libertarian for a number of offices over the years, and in 2014 was able to obtain 5.3% of the statewide vote for Secretary of State and thus established the Libertarian Party as the third recognized political party in North Dakota. Up until 2015 Riemers held the position of state chairman for the North Dakota Libertarian Party, and is currently the Region 6 representative for 9 states to the National Libertarian Committee as well as a North Dakota delegate to the National Libertarian Convention in Orlando in May of 2016.
Riemers has a long history of promoting reforms and civil rights in North Dakota. He has actively promoted shared parenting, father’s rights, court reform, criminal justice reform that stresses rehabilitation instead of increased warehousing, a woman’s right to birth control and abortion, gun rights, voting rights for ex-cons, free speech on public property, treating drug addiction as a medical problem instead of a criminal matter, ending gender bias in the courts, and in general promotes government based on justice and fairness instead of irrational fears or political self-interest.
Riemers is a long time member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, the National Space Society, and Human Rights Watch. And when he is not attending conferences on politics or space exploration he also designs and builds energy efficient passive solar houses as well as runs a successful rental real estate company in Grand Forks.
The Office of State Auditor is a responsible for auditing state agencies, state universities, local governments and federal royalty payments from oil and gas leases and thus is the watch-dog of last resort to make sure the public’s money is properly spent. Riemers feels to be effective as a watch-dog on the public purse, the State Auditor should not be part of the ruling political establishment. Having a Republican Auditor review Republican spending is like having the fox guard the hen house!
Libertarians believe in minimal government and maximum freedom. As the State Auditor Riemers would require all audits to also include suggestions on how the audited agency can become more efficient and reduce its expenditures. To set the example, Riemers pledges to reduce the Auditors Office budget by 5% per year. The State Auditor can evaluate department performance as well as its record keeping practices, and Riemers would seek to do more performance evaluating and give less attention to strict accounting for every penny spent. As it stands now, a department could be 100% in compliance with following authorized spending procedures, but have zero value to the people of North Dakota. Riemers would also promote fuller public disclosure of the results of audits. The public and agency employees should be made more aware of audit results without having to seek them out on their own. And like a lot of other states, Riemers would like to see the Auditor’s office have a hotline so employees and the public can report misuse of public funds.
As well as running the office of State Auditor, Riemers plans to continue his efforts in promoting limited government and more justice and fairness for all North Dakota citizens.
Bolinske for Supreme Court
I am announcing my candidacy for a seat on the North Dakota Supreme Court.
There are two positions open and I have not yet decided which one to seek.
I have represented everyone from America’s largest corporations to its nearly totally paralyzed, most destitute citizen.
In 2003 I got extremely sick from West Nile Disease, and as a result lost my beautiful law office building and got rolled on the gravel both physically and financially. I’m not complaining here. It was a very useful learning experience, and I believe it will make me a better judge. I know North Dakota, I’m from North Dakota and I love North Dakota.
My goal, if elected, will simply be to deliver justice, fairness and equality to everyone, rich and poor, young and old, alike.
If elected, I promise to do my very best to serve you, the citizens of North Dakota.
If you care to help in my quest to seek justice for everyone, please call or write to me.
Very truly yours,
Robert V. Bolinske, Sr.
Robert V. Bolinske – Resume
Oberon, ND Farm
Father: Farmer & Trapper
Mother: Homemaker & “Character”
Oldest of Nine Children
Oberon Grade School
Minot Jr. High School
Rugby High School – 1962
Co-Captain 1962 ND State Class A Basketball Champions
(defeated Phil Jackson’s Williston Coyotes)
Football Co-Captain and Leading Tackler – 1962
University of North Dakota – 1966
Phi Beta Kappa Magna Cum Laude
Harvard Law School – 1969
Minneapolis-Cant, Haverstock 1969 – 1975
Zuger & Bucklin and Zuger, Kirmis, Bolinske and Smith 1975 – 1993
Bolinske Law Firm – 1993 to present, Bismarck
Outdoorsman Contests Overall Champion
Fargo, ND circa 1981
Bismarck, ND circa 1983
The Truth About North Dakota’s Fiscal Mess
According to Governor Dalrymple, concerns about North Dakota’s financial well-being are “completely off the mark”. Not only are concerns unwarranted according to the Governor, “We are on the right track”. On March 24 the Governor penned a 744-word article to the Dickinson Press outlining in glowing terms the stability, successes and economic diversification of the state.
His article was a feel good piece of pure political rhetoric. Interestingly, not a word was mentioned about oil. As for the significant (multi-billion dollar) decrease in projected state revenue, the Governor attributed this to a reduction in agricultural commodity prices.
In the last ten years, he says, per capita income has increased 5 percent annually. Since 2007 has your income gone up 55 percent? The trouble is average family income has not gone up anywhere close to 5 percent annually. Over the same period, state revenues have increased almost 300 percent.
Government growth and spending is out of control. The Governor has proposed nothing to change it. In the last ten years state sales tax revenue increased almost 300 percent; individual income tax revenue increased from $588 million to $763 million; corporate income tax from $232 million to $371 million. Yet, taxes are going through the roof. Property taxes have gone up for almost all of us and state sales tax plus local option sales taxes have greatly increased what we now pay in sales taxes.
The Governor tells us the state has “bought down” property taxes. The problem is the “buy down” did not go to families and businesses. The money went to local governmental entities. They took the “buy down” and didn’t reduce our property tax burden anywhere close to what the state funded them. In short the Governor’s claimed property tax relief has in fact been a tax increase.
Transfers (contributions to the state general fund) from the Bank of ND have traditionally been $60 million biennially; they are now $0. Financial Institutions’ taxes ten years ago were $10 million; they are now $0. Who is being looked after? Not families. How about the state’s student loan trust fund? Ten years ago it was earning $9 million, today $0. Lottery revenue has dropped from $12.6 million to $7 million biennially. The Department of Commerce budget has grown from $19 million to $56 million, almost 300 percent giving away taxpayer money in an attempt attract businesses to our state.
“One time spending” was touted by the governor as the reason for what appeared to be massive state spending. Every businessman knows it is irresponsible to fund capital investments with up-front funding. Capital expenditures should be funded with long term bonding. That is what bonding is all about. Pay as you use it. He tells us these costs do not have to be repeated he’s wrong again. These “one time investments” that “don’t have to be repeated” do have to be managed and maintained, and that isn’t “free”; there is nothing one time about them.
As for State general fund spending, here is what has happened over the last ten years: Welfare spending increased almost 300 percent; K-12 spending increased almost 300 percent with only a 7.4 percent increase in student population statewide. Higher education spending increased more than 200 percent – while the number of ND students attending dropped. More nonresidents attend our higher education schools than resident students. North Dakota families are providing almost half a billion dollars every biennium to subsidize nonresidents. No other state in the nation does this.
Sorry Governor, state finances are not under control. In order to balance the current budget not only will it require an across the board cut of 4.5 percent, it will take the $750 million ending fund balance that had been projected and the majority of our “rainy day fund”, a total of more than $2 billion. Nothing will be left to address the next biennium budget.
To maintain the current level of state budget spending in the next biennium, it will require spending be reduced by almost $3 billion, taxes increased $3 billion or a combination. Without fundamental changes in how our state has been financially managed the last 20 years, taxpayers need to be prepared for significant tax increases.
The question taxpayers/voters need to ask themselves is “Do we want more taxes and bigger government, or are we ready to move in the direction of a government that is smaller and less intrusive, that taxes us less, and is efficient and will attract new business and industries because we are actually family and business friendly?