When I was in Bismarck last week visiting the legislature a Republican member of the House took me aside and told me that the Republican majority would be voting down a lot of tax relief proposals this week and wondered if I might curtail criticism until we see what kind of tax relief is left standing. Though I’m not inclined to pull punches, given the number of tax cut proposals the legislature is considering it makes sense to at a lot of them are going to get shot down.
Still, it was painful to watch the House vote down a real opportunity to change the state’s trajectory on tax policy going forward. A number of Republican governors in other states are pushing the elimination of the personal income tax as a sort of “red state model” for economic recovery. Here in North Dakota, Rep. Scott Louser introduced legislation which would have suspended the state income tax for the next biennium with an eye toward eliminating it permanently after that. The proposal is “big, bold, aggressive but responsible,” Louser said while arguing in favor of it on the floor of the House today.
Unfortunately, his arguments fell on deaf ears as the bill went down by a 23 – 63 vote with no debate. Here’s the video:
The House also voted down some other tax bills today:
HB1221, a proposal from Rep. Lois Delmore to give renters property tax in the form of an income tax credit.
HB1223, introduced by Rep. Eliot Glasshiem, which would have given every citizen of the state over 18 who has lived here for at least a year a $400 tax credit.
HB1271, introduced by Rep. Corey Mock, which would have exempted from sales taxes federally-qualified health centers (which Mock manages as his day job).
HB1096, introduced by Rep. Gary Sukut, would have increased the amount of state sales tax revenues sent to political subdivisions.
HB1311, introduced by Rep. Jerry Kelsh, which also would have increased the amount of state sales tax revenues sent to political subdivisions (with the explicit intent of lowering property taxes).
On the wind energy front, HB1353 (introduced by Rep. Don Vigesaa) allowing for individuals to take a state income tax credit for installing a wind power generator, was defeated but HB1382 (introduced by Rep. Mark Owens) extending an existing wind energy tax credit that would have expired in 2015 to 2017 was approved.