Burgum-backed income tax relief plan advances despite opposition from GOP leadership


The proposal, which was presented to the House on Tuesday afternoon by Bismarck’s Republican Representative Pat Heinert, would provide up to $ 500 in two-year income tax relief to North Dakotas in s’ building on government surplus revenues from the last budget cycle. Heinert’s bill reflects an idea that Burgum first rolled out in September and that the second-term Republican continued to push until his state-of-state speech that kicked off the extraordinary legislative session Monday morning.

“In my opinion, we have to do it for the people of North Dakota,” Heinert told his colleagues at House. “I hope people will use these funds to maybe save money, maybe help someone else with a donation, maybe buy something needed for their own household, or maybe just take their family for a good meal. ”

Heinert’s bill has been introduced by a large majority of 83 to 7, although leading Republican lawmakers have voiced opposition to Burgum’s proposal on several occasions over the past few months.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner R-Dickinson said he continued to oppose plans to remove money from state coffers, citing possible sudden blows to the economy such as the collapse in oil prices last year. Wardner said he wanted to consider lowering taxes when the Legislature returns to Bismarck for a full session in 2023, but he said he believes property taxes might be a better avenue than tax on property. returned.

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Offering discounts now could also reduce the state’s ability to make a more permanent change to the property tax in 2023, he added.

“I didn’t know we had so many members of the House who are in tune with the governor, but they are,” Wardner said of the support the bill garnered in the lower house.

House Majority Leader Chet Pollert R-Carrington has also said in recent months that he favors more permanent changes to cut taxes and does not see the special session as the time to s attack it. But on Tuesday, Pollert voted to introduce Heinert’s bill and said he believed the idea should be considered by lawmakers.

Momentum was building for tax break proposals on Tuesday, Pollert said, and “sometimes you don’t find yourself in front of a locomotive.”

Mike Nowatzki, spokesman for Burgum, said the governor “fully” supported Heinert’s proposal and was open to discussions on more permanent changes later.

Burgum has lobbied for the income tax refund proposal several times over the past few months, and again included the idea in his state of state speech on Monday morning.

“We can afford to do it, we should want to do it and hard-working North Dakota taxpayers certainly deserve it,” he told lawmakers.

The income tax relief proposal was presented on the same day that separate proposals to permanently reduce state income tax on social security benefits also drew late introductions in each. bedroom.

Similar bills aimed at providing long-term tax relief for North Dakota seniors on Social Security have been introduced in both the House and Senate chambers, and both have cleared the sidelines of social security. two thirds for a late introduction.

A proposal, presented by Republican Senator from Minot, David Hogue, was rejected the day before by a delayed bills committee, but was presented in a 35-12 Senate floor. The House proposal, presented by Republican representative for Minot, Larry Bellew, came with a vote of 77 to 12.

Readers can contact Forum reporter Adam Willis, a member of the Report for America corps, at [email protected].

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