Originally formed as an ad-hoc group to refer Senate Bill 2222, which provides subsidies for ethanol plants, StopThief continues as North Dakota’s permanent organization to oppose corporate welfare in every form – including ethanol subsidies but not limited to them.
We lost the first round: we did not get enough signatures for the referral. We don’t expect to lose the next round, though.
The reason we failed the first time was NOT that the people of North Dakota didn’t support us, as the Forum gloated in its editorial. It was that we did not have enough time or enough circulators.
Our circulators at the Red River Valley Fair told us that the vast majority of people were more than willing to sign. Many who wanted to sign didn’t get a chance because there were not enough petitions to go around. One man asked, “Does anyone ever NOT sign this?” He couldn’t believe anyone would allow the taxpayers to be robbed like this and not oppose it!
But we had people at that fair for only part of two days – and the Fair ran for eight. Our volunteers did very, very well, but we needed fifty more like them. In the second round, we will have those fifty people – and we want you to be one of them.
We also had far too little time: only 90 days to get more than 12,800 signatures, of which a month had passed before we hit the streets with petitions. Some of our strongest allies, such as the National Taxpayers’ Union, reached us only when it was too late. If and when another bill like SB2222 is passed, we will be ready with petitions the day it is signed, we will have far more circulators, and the NTU will send bulletins to its members in North Dakota and nationwide, calling for assistance. Another bill like SB2222 will not pass without going to the ballot.
We are not finished with the current fight, either. Plans are being made to challenge SB2222 in court on constitutional grounds, and an initiative is being planned which would abolish corporate welfare.
If you are willing to help with the initiative, please email us and let us know. We are reorganizing to prepare for the long struggle, but you can reach our state coordinator at email@example.com.
Our experience with the referral shows that we NEED the active help of those who support us. Please watch this website for updates about the initiative and the legal challenge.
News flash, November 2005: A movie has been released documenting the sins of corporate welfare recipient Wal-Mart, which is trying to locate in Fargo, and we are asked to show screenings in our neighborhoods.
Ben Brandzel writes: After Katrina, we committed to work together to help rebuild a middle class America. It's critical to examine why so many hard working families are watching the American Dream slip away. Wal-Mart, the world's largest corporation and nation's largest employer, is a major piece of that puzzle.
Wal-Mart is owned by the nation's wealthiest family, but its average salary is below the poverty line—leaving over half of its full time employees without health care or dependent on Medicaid. It drives down labor standards at home and around the world. It has destroyed countless small businesses in thousands of communities. And it does it all by absorbing billions of dollars in corporate welfare every year.
Cartoon reprinted from “The Straight Dope,” The Chicago Reader, www.chicagoreader.com.