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Letter to the editor: House tax bill hurts North Dakotans

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to advance their version of the Republican tax plan. My colleague in the Legislature, state Sen. Kelly Armstrong, recently suggested North Dakotans support this plan (we can assume he meant the House version because the Senate version had not yet been released) – but I believe Armstrong is mistaken.

I believe North Dakotans want a fairer tax code, and we all want lower taxes. But I do not believe North Dakotans favor a bill that would increase the national debt by $2 trillion, hike taxes on many low- and middle-income families, and favor veryhigh-income earners without providing an adequate leg up for North Dakotans who live paycheck-to-paycheck.

It s common sense that we need middle-class tax relief, but that’s not what the House Republican plan is. Under the plan, North Dakotans earning between $10,000 and $20,000 will see an average tax increase of $111 per year by 2025; those earning between $20,000 and $30,000 will see an average tax increase of $1,235; and those earning between $30,000 and $40,000 will see an average tax increase of $699. That’s according to the U.S. Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

So, ask yourself: “Do I earn between $10,000 and $40,000 per year? If so, you stand to lose out in this deal.

Meanwhile, a married couple with one child, an annual income of $60,000, and $20,000 in itemized deductions, will see a tax increase of $575. If you have a child and a household income of $60,000 or less, you could get left behind in this bill.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer and state Republican officials like Armstrong have been among the strongest advocates for this bill. We should ask them: Why are so many low-income and working families left out of your plan? And as long as we’re asking questions, let’s also ask Armstrong to explain his party’s record on taxes during the last legislative session. Last I checked, our property taxes – yours and mine – are going up. How’d that happen?

It was under the leadership of Armstrong, along with House Majority Leader Al Carlson, that the Legislature eliminated the 12 percent property tax buy-down and slashed property tax relief for North Dakotans. They balanced the state’s budget woes on the backs of property owners.

That’s right: The same folks who are telling us to support the House Republican tax plan are also responsible for the bad policy decisions that jeopardized property tax relief for families in every corner of the state.

I’ll be taking that to the ballot box with me next year, and I encourage you to do the same.

Hogan, a Democrat, represents District 21 in the

North Dakota Legislature.