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Gov. Burgum still pushing income tax cuts, not keen on property taxes

Gov. Doug Burgum (in cap) at a Bismarck bill signing ceremony
Dave Thompson
Gov. Doug Burgum (in cap) at a Bismarck bill signing ceremony

Gov. Doug Burgum hopes the Legislature will pass a package of bills to attract and retain workforce.

Burgum said he includes an income tax cut as part of that.

The Governor wants to go to a "flat rate" tax, with some in the lower tax brackets not having to pay anything. He said he would eventually like to have no state income tax.

"We're competing, especially when it comes to the energy industry, with Alaska, Wyoming and Texas, which have zero income tax," Burgum said. "South Dakota has no income tax."

As it stands, the legislature is considering a bill to combine income tax relief with property tax relief. Some of the property tax relief would come through a further “buy down” of the required property tax levied by school districts to be a part of the education funding formula.

Burgum said he’s not a fan of that approach.

"Real tax relief means allowing citizens to keep money in their pockets," Burgum said. "It doesn't mean we collect taxes from people and redistribute them to other people."

Burgum said proposals like that are called "tax relief" — but he said they aren't tax relief.

"We've done that for the last 18 years, to the tune of billions of dollars," Burgum said. "It hasn't worked."

And Burgum said the state can afford to cut income taxes. He said having a "no-income-tax" state will help attract businesses as well.

"We have $40 billion of capital trying to get to North Dakota," Burgum said. "None of those companies I've talked to have said, 'What are your property taxes?' They've all said, 'Can we get workers?' And the way we get workers is to make sure we're competing with other states that have no income tax. We have to get on that path."

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