GF should try barf tax on for size
Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown's used UND's move into Division I athletics as the theme of his State of the City address last week. In announcing his vision, he said, "Like UND, Team Grand Forks is going D-I." I hope the good mayor wasn't talking a...
Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown's used UND's move into Division I athletics as the theme of his State of the City address last week.
In announcing his vision, he said, "Like UND, Team Grand Forks is going D-I."
I hope the good mayor wasn't talking about UND's marquee teams' records since they went D-I. Football, men's basketball and women's basketball were national contenders in D-II, but their records have been average -- at best -- since they moved up a level. And I hope he wasn't talking about interest, as attendance has shrunk like a frightened turtle.
So I'm skeptical that he picked the correct analogy in making the case for Grand Forks to rise to a higher level.
Nor am I sold on the roots of the mayor's D-I strategy. The plan is for a sales tax hike to pay for library improvements, then pay for infrastructure, then probably pay for a water treatment plant and, eventually, a partridge in a pear tree. The Pacific Ocean will flood Grafton before the tax expires.
The sales tax isn't very neighborly of him, either. If passed, it will shift the burden also onto Canadians and other out-of-towners who shop in River City. At the very least, this is rude.
But it's a solid strategy, in a bottom-line way. Local residents are more likely to favor a sales tax than a property tax hike because they're not paying the entire freight. Sadly, Canadians and residents of dusty towns don't get to vote. Where is the Tea Party crowd when you really need them?
The sales tax is the tax of choice these days. Fargo is using it to pay for its flood protection and there was a failed effort there to use it to educate its kids (now that's chutzpah!). Grand Forks County tried to float a sales tax for a new jail, but it got spanked, largely because of anger at the county commissioners.
There are other ways than the sales tax help the library. I suggest a barf tax.
Every Monday morning, downtown workers need to hop, skip and jump over vomit spatters and dodge broken beer bottles left behind from the downtown bars' excesses of the weekend.
I remember the days of young adults partying hardy, but I don't remember them leaving a trail of Technicolor. Throwing up is sooooooo high school.
But, instead of fleecing Grand Forks visitors by taxing their toilet paper purchases, I suggest the City Council institute the barf tax and set up a special task force to patrol downtown about 2 a.m. Revenue would explode.
My guess is that this is a tax that even Terry "Dr. No" Bjerke would support.
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send e-mail to email@example.com .