West Fargo leaders say they can't take action, but don't want yo - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

West Fargo leaders oppose tax measure

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West Fargo city, park and school leaders say they don't like measure two, but they can't say so officially. That's after a joint meeting at which representatives from all those entities got together to affirm they're planning to "get out there and preach to people," according to West Fargo mayor Rich Mattern, to convince voters measure two could cost them their city services.

Measure two aims to take the property tax burden off north Dakotans and shift it to the state, which would be responsible for paying for services. However, west Fargo officials say they're not sure even the supporters know how they'd be paid for, or which ones. They say things like fire, police, snow and other services could be in jeopardy. They're also worried that relying on the state is good in times of surplus, but could be dangerous in times of recession, as has happened in Minnesota.

"Moorhead is a good example," says Mattern. "With their budget cutting all the time, they're leaving positions open, looking for every nickel and dime. If we're going to rely on the state economy, what if the economy goes south, it might not be such a good idea."

Just because the city, park and school leaders can't take a stance doesn't mean other organizations can't.

The National Education Association and the State School Board Association came out against Measure Two, plus the F-M Chamber of Commerce.

Supporters of the measure -- which includes the group Empower the Taxpayer -- say those organizations don't want it to pass because the state department of public instruction controls what happens in our schools and its funding.

They would say the chamber wouldn't support it because it's made up of businesses and businesses get tax breaks property owners don't have.

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