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ND Tax Dept.

North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said he hopes Congress or the courts will start allowing states to collect sales taxes from Internet retailers.

Some of the retailers do submit sales taxes to North Dakota. Under state law, if the retailer doesn’t do it, the customer is supposed to pay. But that law is widely ignored, and not enforced.

The question last came up in the “Quill v. North Dakota” case. That case went to the US Supreme Court.

Otter Tail Power Company

Otter Tail Power Company is proposing a North Dakota wind farm and a South Dakota natural gas power plant to replace an aging coal-fired power plant.

The plant is the Hoot Lake power plant.

"It's really a 1950s-era plant," said Otter Tail vice-president for public relations Cris Oehler. "If you've got a car, you can keep it going for some miles. But at some point, you need to buy a new vehicle. And that's kind of where we are with the Hoot Lake plant."

ND doing better in a 'Goldilocks' economy

Jul 4, 2017
Creighton University

A “Goldilocks” economy.

That’s how Creighton University economics professor Dr. Ernie Goss characterizes the June Mid-American Business Conditions Index. That index includes North Dakota and eight other states.

Under his formula, an index over 50 indicates economic growth. For the region, the June index was 62.3 – up from May’s 55.5. For North Dakota, the index rose from May’s 53.9 to June’s 67.2.

Goss said he thought health care reform and tax reform were needed to get the economy moving.

Xcel Energy proposing big wind power expansion

Jul 4, 2017

Xcel Energy has a plan to add 1550 megawatts of wind generation.

And it has asked the North Dakota Public Service Commission to give its OK to the plan.

Xcel wants the PSC to issue what is called “advanced determination of prudence.” That designation could make it easier for the utility to seek financing for the project.

The projects include Foxtail, in Dickey County, and Clean Energy #1 in Mercer and Morton Counties. Foxtail is a 150 megawatt wind farm, and Clean Energy #1 is a 100 megawatt facility.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A crude oil pipeline that was converted from a gathering line to a transmission line will be carrying more crude.

The Public Service Commission gave the OK to Hiland Crude, LLC's plan to increase the capacity from 36,000 barrels a day to 85,000 barrels a day. The pipeline itself will not change – but Hiland is also building more storage.

"They've gotten more producers interested in using that pipeline," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "One of which is the competion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and this is a feeder to that."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s chief investment officer said funds managed by the state Investment Board have done very well in fiscal 2017.

That includes state retirement funds, as well as the Legacy Fund and the budget stabilization fund.

"Actually, for the 10 months ending April 30th, they've earned over a billion dollars," said CIO Dave Hunter. "State Investment Board assets are close to $12 billion. A big chunk of that -- $1 billion -- is investment earnings since July 1, 2016."

ND Department of Mineral Resources

The state’s Industrial Commission is extending the waivers for inactive oil wells and non-completed wells.

Non-completed wells have been drilled, but have not been fracked. The inactive wells have been drilled and fracked, but are not producing oil. Current waivers say those wells need to be active a year after being granted a waiver – but the Commission is extending that for another six months.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms told the Industrial Commission there are a number of reasons. One is price.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Xcel Energy is extending an “outage credit” until the end of the year for its Fargo customers.

That credit was created after Xcel had problems with power outages. Under it, if a customer has three or more outages a year, the customer would receive a $50 credit on the electric bill. That credit was to expire – but North Dakota Public Service Commission staff worked with the company to keep it in place a little longer..

Plains Folk Essay: Celebrating Zeeland Hall

Jun 30, 2017

Rauschenberger: Taxable sales down, but leveling off

Jun 30, 2017
ND Tax Dept.

North Dakota taxable sales and purchases were down 5 percent for the first quarter of 2017, compared to the first three months of 2016.

"We are basically at our 2011 levels right now," said Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger.

Taxable sales and purchases for the quarter were nearly $3.7 billion. The largest sector – retail trade – was at $1.3 billion. Rauschenberger said retail sales dropped slightly – but it was a much smaller decline than in the past few years.

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News from NPR

A new Senate campaign ad for Rep. Mo Brooks uses audio from last month's shooting at a congressional baseball practice that left Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., gravely wounded.

Brooks was among the congressmen practicing at the Alexandria, Va., baseball diamond and highlights the experience as he competes in the GOP Senate primary in Alabama, a traditionally conservative state.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Native Forest Birds In Kauai In Peril

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Senate Health Care Vote, Simplified

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The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to advance health care legislation to the Senate floor. That would open up debate on an Obamacare repeal and/or replacement plan.

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