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Legislative Report District 22: Spending levels, tax reductions, funding, flooding to be major issues

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Conference committees are now the main activity of the legislature. Most committees have finished their work, and Appropriations are just dealing with their final bills and will also be in conference this week.

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The final level of spending and tax reductions will be the major issues that need to be resolved. I will be chairing the conference committees that will be putting together the final income tax reduction bill HB 1289 as well as the property tax relief bill HB 1047.

The conference committee is the process where differences between the house and senate will be resolved. Funding for roads in oil counties as well as non oil counties still needs to be resolved but the final spending package should give substantial aid to cover snow and flood damage as well as road construction.

Flooding is also an issue with legislators. Unless we receive substantial precipitation, it appears that most of the state will not see major flooding. It appears that surrounding communities have done a good job in preparing for this flood.

The past several sessions some legislators had been called home to protect their property, but that is not the case to this point.

The major areas that will have the most flooding will be the Harwood, Mapleton, West Fargo and north as well as areas south and south west of Fargo. Overland flooding will be a major area of concern. These areas do not always get the help they need.

The 2011 flood again indicates that as the Fargo diversion moves forward that more attention must be given to upstream and downstream interests. I am still not convinced that the Corp of Engineers have given enough study to upstream storage on the Wild rice, Maple , and Sheyenne rivers as well as other tributaries. 

District 22 legislators, Reps. Vonnie Pietsch, Wes and Judy Belter, Sens. Gary and Joan Lee, and Cleo and Ralph Thompson of Page were dinner guest of Gov. Jack and Betsy Dalrymple. Gov. Dalrymple and I started as State Reps. in 1984.

In the closing days of this session, we can still be contacted by email: Rep. Wes Belter wbelter@nd.gov, Rep. Vonnie Pietsch vpietsch@nd.gov, and Sen. Gary Lee at galee@nd.gov.

We appreciated all the emails and letters we received this past session.

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