New Year Resolutions for Government

Welcome to the new year! This isn’t just any old new year, it’s the beginning of the midterm election year. You’ll undoubtedly be seeing a lot of writing, views, and news when it comes to electoral politics on ND xPlains in the months ahead. Before we dive into who is running and who is sitting this one out, let’s talk about setting some government goals for 2018.

The last year in government left little to be desired. Worrisome trends developed. Revelations of long-term abuses. Questions on conflict of interests were raised. All these things can be corrected. Below is a wish-list of things to correct for 2018. Consider it a new years resolution in government.

Return to Regular Order

The public business should be done in public. No more writing legislation behind closed doors. No more rushed procedure to meet an arbitrary deadline created for purely partisan purposes. No more votes without hearings and public debate.

No More Slush Funds

This year it was revealed that $17 million of taxpayer money has been used to settle harassment allegations over the years. The fund was created and used in secret by lawmakers and staff. The audacity they are able to hide their unacceptable behavior behind a confidentiality clause on our money is an outrage.

Pass a Long-Term Budget

Enough kicking the can down the road in funding the government. This is literally Congress’s job and they’ve failed to fulfill it. Two-week after two-week continuing resolutions to keep the lights on, the doors open, and public programs available is no way to function. Cut the nonsense and compromise on a budget that provides certainty for government employees and those who utilize the programs we all pay for.

Increased Transparency

No more baring the public and press from meetings that discuss important topics. The public also deserves to be able to readily see any conflicts of interest. If a politician takes a position that will personally benefit them, their family, or friends we should know.

These are just a couple areas to improve upon in the new year. The list can certainly be extended. Both chambers return to work within the next week. It’s a perfect time to pressure them into doing better this year.

Tyler Axness