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Astrup proposes eliminating "Senior Citizen Tax"

The Democratic candidate for Tax Commissioner is proposing that the legislature do away with what he is calling the "senior citizens tax."

Jason Astrup says his plan would enact a tax exclusion for all Social Security recipients living in North Dakota.  He says it would exclude any taxable portion of Social Security benefits from that taxpayer's income tax return.  Astrup says taxing Social Security benefits is an excessive hit on seniors who have already worked a lifetime contributing to the state's prosperity, and with the rising costs of living seniors need to make every dollar count.  Astrup says eliminating the tax in North Dakota would have little, if any effect on the state's overall bottom line.

"A good ball park estimate for the cost is about $12 million a year to exclude Social Security benefits from taxation here in North Dakota, where as North Dakota had about a $1.4 billion surplus in the last fiscal biennium. What we're looking at here is less than one percent of that surplus to take care of excluding Social Security benefits from taxation in North Dakota."

Oliver Huseby is a senior from Fargo and says the exclusion makes sense.  He says it's tough enough to make do on his fixed income.

"I'd like to see a little bit more coming my way to help with my standard of living. Some of us seniors didn't plan ahead far enough to gain anything. I'm hoping this will help a little bit."

Astrup says North Dakota is one of only 13 states in the nation that taxes Social Security benefits.

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