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Legislators open to tax reform

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Some state lawmakers say the time might be right for comprehensive tax relief for North Dakotans.

Governor Burgum called for that in his “State of the State” speech. He said he would be working with the tax commissioner, the OMB director and key Legislators to get a proposal ready for the 2023 Legislative session.

The Legislature's interim Taxation Committee may start looking at potential legislation to make it happen.

"We have the opportunity, I think, prior to the next session, to dive into that a little bit, and find out where the money would come from," said Sen. Dale Patten (R-Watford City), the chairman of the Interim committee. "It would need to be a stable source, not subject to fluctuations. We would want to make it permanent."

Patten said the question would be — what are the other impacts of the proposal.

In the 2021 special session, lawmakers passed a state income tax credit, along with a measure that ends the state taxing Social Security benefits. The tax credit had a price tag of $211 million, and is in effect for this year and next year.

"At that point, I said, 'Well — when the sunset clause comes up, we need to have a solution, rather than just letting it end," Patton said.

In his speech, Burgum talked about the state's economic position, with new industries coming in , and the Legacy Fund, which continues to grow.

"We need to give something back to the taxpayers," said Rep. Jason Dockter (R-Bismarck). "We need to look at everything."

Dockter said among constituents, property tax is the top concern. But he said he’s also concerned about income tax.

"South Dakota doesn't have income tax, but we still have income tax," Dockter said. "We need to look at all that."

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