Politicians like to talk about how they are fighting for us, especially when they are looking for votes. Sometimes, those same politicians say things that just reek of elitism. Such was the case with the reactions to the news that North Dakotans are fed up with the over-taxation and over-spending that just occurred in this last legislative session.
In the May 31st Forum, Helmut Schmidt paraphrased a senior Republican Senator as saying “he’d rather have tax issues handled by the Legislature.”
Excuse me? There is a reason that North Dakota has one of the most citizen-friendly initiated measure processes in the nation. This state has a long and proud history of citizen initiated law. A major reason the Non-Partisan League was created, long before it was co-opted by the Democratic Party, was to reform the initiated measure process to make it easier for The People to have a say in how their state is run.
In the same article another senior Republican state representative was quoted as saying “it does tie the hands of the Legislature.”
Tying the hands of the Legislature is the great thing about initiated measures and the way our state Constitution is designed. Our state constitution reserves the right of The People to set the rules in which the legislature operates.
These criticisms are easy for politicians to have; after all, it’s not their money that is being spent. The fact that all Constitutional amendments must pass a vote of The People confirms that in our form of government, The People are trusted to make the really important decisions – even if our elected officials do not trust us.