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Burgum again pushes state lawmakers to approve a one-time $500 income tax credit

Gov. Doug Burgum has again called on Legislators to provide a one-time $500 income tax credit through using the state’s General Fund ending fund balance.

But Legislative leaders are not ready to do that.

In his speech to Legislators, Burgum said after the 2021 Legislative Session, the state had its second largest ending fund balance -- $1.2 billion. Before he called the Special Session, Burgum made it part of his recommendation to lawmakers.

"If it's not the right time to provide tax relief, when the corrosive power of rising inflation is hitting the pocketbooks of our citizens across the state and nation," Burgum said. "If it's not the right time, when we're emerging from a once-in-a-century pandemic, and people are still recovering financially, then I do have to ask — when would be the right time?"

But the two Majority leaders said now is not the time for a temporary tax reduction, or credit.

"Let's make a tax cut, but let's make it permanent," Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner told reporters. "Is it income tax? Or should it be in the area of property tax? We don't know — we haven't decided that yet."

Burgum also wants lawmakers to look at using another $100 million from the ending fund balance to help shore-up the state employees’ retirement fund. The leaders say they want to wait and see if an interim study will recommend converting the retirement plan from “defined benefit” to “defined contribution.”