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Politics & Government

Lawmakers considering tax breaks given to businesses

An interim Legislative committee is taking a look at the tax incentives granted to new or expanding businesses in North Dakota – and whether those incentives have to be tweaked.

The Pew Charitable Trusts has been working with other states in evaluating their incentive plans. Jeff Chapman is the manager of Economic Development Tax Incentives for Pew. He told the interim Taxation Committee that other states have adopted formal reviews of their incentive plans – and he says that means asking questions.

"It's not enough to say there were x-number of people hired in this company," Chapman told the committee. "You really want to get at how many of those people were hired because of this incentive."

Chapman says policy makers need to really look at if the incentives are cost-effective.

A number of the committee members said they want to take a look at all the incentives.

"A lot of these programs were designed 15 years ago, when the environment in North Dakota was much different," said Rep. Mike Nathe (R-Bismarck). "Now we have schools expanding, an influx of population, and an expanding tax base. It's time to take a good look, and update the incentives."

The Committee will look at how much has been give in these incentives – and how the state can get a handle on the costs versus the benefits.