Consent still works

Consent still works

June 24th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Taxation without representation was the protest offered during the 1750's and 60's that lit the fuse of the American Revolution.

Unwanted taxation was the centerpiece of the argument by foes of annexation attempts in recent months by the city of Chattanooga.

The words, now approaching 236 years of age, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ... " resulted from a belief in a nation being born out of adversity that individuals were having their wealth and labor confiscated.

North Dakota has earned significant media coverage in recent months with more than 900 billion barrels of proven reserves of oil in place. Compare that to the Persian Gulf with 747 billion of proven oil reserves, according to the U.S. Department of State.

The discovery and extraction of oil in the state that borders Canada, which supplies almost 20 percent of America's imported oil, has created a little problem for North Dakota, whose nickname "The Peace Garden State" easily could change based on its new-found resource and the "more than 20,000 job openings statewide" advertised on its website.

It seems having new oil revenues of $839 million in fiscal year 2011 alone, with an expected total to exceed $2 billion in 2012 and 2013 combined, has created a stir among the citizens with the $5 billion surplus in a swollen state treasury.

Citizens want property tax relief. With land values increasing due to mineral rights, property taxes have been escalating. Citizens have just had a referendum to completely abolish the state's property tax, which annually gathers about $800 million from property owners, according to the New York Times and Despite the failure of the statewide vote, elected officials have heard enough from voters encouraging consumption and sales taxes.

Interestingly, the unusual coalition that led in the referendum's defeat was comprised of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce and the North Dakota Public Employees Association.

A few lessons from the High Plains: America has resources to serve our needs, such as energy, that can be responsibly used for consumption, job creation and prosperity. Further, the "consent of the governed" is not a phrase that's shelved in history for a bygone era. Finally, the best funding mechanism for governments comes from economic growth, not penalties of the productive and their property.