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Legislature considering ending North Dakota income taxes on Social Security benefits

The North Dakota Senate Finance and Taxation Committee is looking at a bill to exempt Social Security benefits from North Dakota income tax.

The bill had earlier passed the House. The Senate has already rejected an earlier version of the bill.

North Dakota is one of a handful of states that still levies income taxes on Social Security benefits, and is one of a very few states that uses the federal income tax levels.

"We were already taxed on Social Security," said Rep. Larry Bellew (R-Minot). the bill's main sponsor. "Social Security is not a pre-tax deduction. This I consider to be 'double-taxation.'"

But the chairman of the Senate committee – Sen. Dwight Cook (R-Mandan) – doesn’t like the bill.

"I don't especially like taxes, but we have to have them," Cook said. "I always try to have fair tax policy."

Cook said he believes in a broad base, with a low tax rate.

"The more people have to pay, the less individually they would have to pay," Cook said. "Everybody should have skin in the game."

The measure is supported by AARP-North Dakota.

The committee has yet to take action on the bill.

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