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Board of Higher Education opposes tax ballot measures

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – The North Dakota Board of Higher Education is opposing ballot measures to cut state income taxes and establish a trust fund for oil revenues.

Measure 1 would establish a trust fund for oil taxes and make it difficult for lawmakers to spend money from the fund. Measure 2 cuts individual income taxes by 50 percent and corporate income taxes by 15 percent.

Board members say the measures would make it tougher to raise faculty salaries -- and would mean hefty increases in student tuition and fees.

"We want to eat our seed corn -- that is not what we should be doing," said Board member Michael Haugen. "We have to invest in jobs and training to move the state forward."

"The question is -- what kind of state do we want here in North Dakota," said Board member Jon Backes. "Do we want a state where we invest in our future, or do we wnat one where we have a savings account that starves the state's growth?"

The board is asking the Legislature to raise North Dakota university system spending by 46 percent over two years for permanent operations and one-time projects.