OUR OPINION -- Another four years for Fong
North Dakota's Tax Department is a well-run operation. Dealing with an area that makes people wince -- taxes -- Commissioner Cory Fong has kept the office efficient and nonpolitical. His steady, professional leadership since his appointment to th...
North Dakota's Tax Department is a well-run operation. Dealing with an area that makes people wince -- taxes -- Commissioner Cory Fong has kept the office efficient and nonpolitical. His steady, professional leadership since his appointment to the job and subsequent election in 2006 has earned him re-election to a second four-year term.
Fong's opponent, Democrat Cynthia Kaldor of Mayville, did not seek her party's nomination but took on the task when no one stepped forward. She has been serious about her commitment to the campaign by becoming a focused student of the state's tax code and the functions of the Tax Department. But she has not made the case that a competent incumbent should be replaced.
Fong need not start from square one, having been immersed in the complexities of the department for several years. Building on the work of his predecessors, Fong has provided policymakers, business people and others with the tools and data vital for making good decisions. His department is the locus for examining and re-examining the state's tax structure. The aim of that work, as articulated by the commissioner, is to provide data that can be used to intelligently assess funding priorities and limitations.
In addition to accumulating tax information, the department is charged with the nuts-and-bolts work of the state's tax system. Fong's leadership and an excellent team of professionals have increased efficiencies and made tax administration more effective. For example, a systems integration project was completed on time and under budget, resulting in a $2.8 million savings from the authorization from the Legislature.
He also has presided over other improvements that have reduced the cost of tax collections. Since 2005, the department has turned back nearly $2 million to the state's general fund, while improving job performance. That's good management.
Fong's professional, no-nonsense management has kept the department clear of political entanglements while enhancing its vital work. He's earned re-election.
Endorsements represent the views of Forum Communications, the Herald's parent company. This endorsement was written by The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.