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Letter: Don't misdirect anger over UND budget cuts

It's sad when people are hurt by a budget crunch, whether they be in the public or private sector. Recently, some high-profile retail stores announced closures, and people lost their jobs. When government entities face loss of funding, again peop...

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It's sad when people are hurt by a budget crunch, whether they be in the public or private sector. Recently, some high-profile retail stores announced closures, and people lost their jobs. When government entities face loss of funding, again people suffer, including both providers and receivers of government services.

Lots of students and faculty are affected by the recent UND cuts, the highest-profile of which hit athletics. People have directed anger toward UND's president and athletic director, but the administrators are but the messengers for the real culprit, the North Dakota Legislature.

Legislators and budget planners should have better prepared the state for a downturn in agriculture and oil, but they did not.

In North Dakota, there is "one party rule," as one political party entirely controls state government. Living in Minnesota is no panacea, but at least there is a strong two-party influence over state government.

Currently, the Republicans in Minnesota control both legislative chambers, while a Democrat is the governor. That means compromise is required to legislate and fund state services. Neither side gets 100 percent of what it wants.

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Another result is that Minnesota occasionally raises taxes, something the one-party rulers of North Dakota refuse to do.

Minnesotans sometimes call North Dakota "the land of low taxes and no services." Educators, civil servants (including police officers) and university faculty have left North Dakota for neighboring Minnesota and other states for better pay and benefits.

I empathize with students, athletes and public officials who have been hurt by this round of cuts. But I encourage North Dakotans to ask their legislators whether the lawmakers considered other options besides cuts to solve the state's budget crisis.

John Johnson

Warren, Minn.

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