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Gov. Burgum touts state's economic condition, calls for tax reform, in his "State of the State" speech

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Gov. Doug Burgum stressed economics and taxes in his 2022 "State of the State" address.

The speech was given at the Fargo Theater. In it, Burgum said the state of the state "is strong — and growing stronger by the day."

GDP Challenge

Burgum is challenging the state to become the number one state in gross domestic product. He said there are $30 billion worth of projects coming to the state – which includes the $350 million soybean crushing plant at Spiritwood, a $350 million wet corn mill in Grand Forks, a $2.8 billion gas-to-liquids complex in Williams County, a hydrogen hub near Beulah, a data center near Williston, and a $4.5 billion carbon capture pipeline and storage project.

"Last year, we were fourth in the nation in GDP," Burgum said. "We were behind Massachusetts and New York."

Burgum said North Dakota has an advantage.

"We have a small number of people, a huge number of resources," Burgum said. "With all of these projects that are in this development pipeline, we have a shot at doing this. Let's go make it happen."

Burgum also said the state’s manufacturing sector is thriving, and the economy is diversifying.

'Carbon Neutral' North Dakota

In the spring of 2021, Burgum announced a goal to make North Dakota “carbon neutral” by the year 2030.

In his “State of the State” address, Burgum said the state is well on its way to meeting that goal. And he said that announcement could be bringing a lot of investment to the state.

"We knew that it would unleash capital," Burgum said. "And it's coming in at a faster rate than even we expected."

Burgum said the Dept. of Commerce is now engaged in over $30 billion in identified projects.

"People have indicated an interest in coming ti our state, for value-added energy or value-added ag," Burgum said.

Burgum said the state needs to “keep its foot on the accelerator” to develop carbon storage potential, and the enhancement of oil production.

Tax reform

Burgum is calling for “meaningful” tax reform.

He said progress has been made in tax reform – such as the elimination of state income tax on Social Security benefits.

"But we can't stop there," Burgum said. "We need to find ways to simplify our tax code. We need to create a better business tax environment. And we have to make sure that any attempt at state-funded property tax relief actually finds its way to the citizens, instead of being slowly eroded through property tax increases for fiscally uneconomic, premature growth of public funded infrastructure on the edges of our cities."

Burgum said the state has been doing its part to try and hold property taxes down, through K-12 education funding and covering the costs of county social services. He said he will be working with the state tax commissioner, the state’s office of management and budget and key legislators on tax reform proposals for the 2023 Legislature.

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