Although there are some who believe North Dakota, with its current solid financial footing, has an idyllic future, Pete is a realist. He understands that the legislature will face many fiscal, political and social issues. He takes seriously the responsibility of representing the residents of North Dakota. Pete's approach in the legislature will be as it's been in his many years in private and public sector work - try to keep it simple and use common sense.
"North Dakota is experiencing unprecedented growth both in population and in our economy. Balancing this growth against the impact to its citizens, environment and quality of life will be a high priority in the next legislative session. Specifically dealing with growing infrastructure needs, education, healthcare, law enforcement and housing will be key areas on which we must focus.
The legislature must tackle these important issues and, at the same time, remain fiscally responsible while developing a long-term plan. We must establish solutions to these issues, and at the same time limit the growth of government.
I also believe one of our key responsibilities is to protect the legacy of values that we have inherited from earlier generations. We can't forget how North Dakota became such a strong and vibrant state."
Pete's Approach to the State's Budget Surplus
There are those who believe the income our state receives from oil production will never end. Pete Silbernagel is a realist. In his years in the private and public sectors he's been able to look toward the horizon and be a conservative planner. Pete believes the state should be planning for the long term.
On the budget surplus Pete says:
"Both California and Alaska experienced many years of tremendous revenue from healthy oil production. Both states have seen their oil production fall significantly in recent years and with that state revenues have fallen dramatically. We have to be realistic and recognize that at some point in the future of North Dakota we will see oil production and state revenues fall as well. It simply won't last forever. For this reason I feel the dollars being set aside for the future in the "Legacy Fund" should continue. It's the fiscally responsible thing to do and ensures the financial health of future generations of North Dakota.
I believe the state needs to continue to spend the necessary dollars to address additional infrastructure and societal needs as a result of this recent "oil boom." We need to address the needs of medical, educational, fire and police protection, roads and housing.
Tax relief for our citizens needs to be considered on two fronts: property taxes and personal income taxes. Whereas I believe this is very important, the levels of reduction should be determined only after setting aside dollars for the future and meeting our current budget requirements."