ND governor proposing $545 million in tax reliefFARGO, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, whose oil-rich state has the lowest unemployment in the country and a billion-dollar budget surplus, called for $545 million in tax cuts on Monday and a change in the funding formula for primary education.
By: Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, whose oil-rich state has the lowest unemployment in the country and a billion-dollar budget surplus, called for $545 million in tax cuts on Monday and a change in the funding formula for primary education.
The plan, which would be considered by lawmakers next year if Dalrymple retains his seat as governor in November, includes cuts in property taxes, and individual and corporate income taxes. The governor also wants a 50 percent reduction in the average school district tax levy.
“We can have significant tax relief to citizens at the same time we are funding all our important programs,” said Dalrymple, who succeeded former Gov. John Hoeven in 2010 when Hoeven was elected to the U.S. Senate.
His opponent in the November election, Democratic state Sen. Ryan Taylor, said the governor is late to the discussion. Taylor noted that his plan, which would cut property taxes and give renters a break, was released more than two months ago.
“This is more of the same from Gov. Dalrymple, reacting to issues long after hearing the public outcry,” Taylor said in a statement. “There seems to be an increase of summits, news releases and plans that might take effect midway through 2013 now that we're less than three months from an election.”
Dalrymple said his reductions in the school levy would save the owner of a $180,000 home nearly $1,100 in property taxes. He said reducing the local share of school funding should be a permanent part of the funding formula.
“This tax relief will be sustainable over the long term because of the state's stable economy and prudent fiscal management,” said Dalrymple, who pointed out that other industries are thriving in the state besides oil.
The governor's proposal would reduce individual income taxes by $100 million and corporate income taxes by $25 million in the two-year budget covering fiscal 2013 through 2015. Dalrymple said his plan calls for the state to pick up the tax bill for more disabled residents and senior citizens, with the goal of keeping them at home.
“It's the best place for them to be living,” Dalrymple said. “It's also cheaper than assisted living and nursing homes.”
Dalrymple said that if his cuts are enacted, it would mean a total of $2.25 billion less in taxes between 2009, when Dalrymple was lieutenant governor, and 2015.
Some residents don't believe that's enough. Charlene Nelson, who helped lead efforts to convince voters to eliminate property taxes through a constitutional amendment, a proposal that was shot down by more than 70 percent of voters in June, said Monday that Dalrymple's plan offers no meaningful relief.
“Gov. Dalrymple is going to spend $545 million and we're still not going to own our homes, we're still going to be stuck with a property tax bill, we're still going to have people losing their homes, and we're still not going to have local control of our schools,” she said.
“They have $2 billion in excess revenue,” Nelson added, referring to the state's rainy day funds. “Give it back.”
Dalrymple said he expects a wide range of tax proposals in the next session, including some that would eliminate certain tax brackets, but believes the state benefits from a balanced tax system.
“Other states in the U.S. look at North Dakota and they are very envious of this state,” he said.
Taylor's property relief plan would offer a $100,000 reduction in the valuation of a resident's primary home, a reduction that also would be applied to farm property. His proposal gives renters a tax credit of 15 percent of annual rent with a $900 maximum credit.
“In North Dakota, we pride ourselves on taking care of our own,” Taylor said. “Under the Taylor tax plan, if you live and make your home in North Dakota, you are guaranteed relief.”