Port: If we really want to deliver relief to working families, stop charging them for school lunches


MINOT, N.D. — There is a lot of talk in Bismarck about North Dakota’s strong revenues and how to deliver some of that windfall back to the taxpayers.

After all, it all comes from us, and when the state has too much, they’re obliged to give some back.

Most of the debate is focused on income tax cuts and property tax buydowns. In that debate, I’d prefer that we put ourselves on a trajectory to rid ourselves of the state’s personal income tax, mostly because lawmakers have squandered $7 billion on trying to lower property taxes with little discernible relief reaching property owners, as evidenced by the fact that just about everyone is still ticked off about their property tax bills.

But there’s another policy proposal, one that has significant potential for our state’s families, which isn’t getting discussed in the context of tax relief, and that’s school lunch costs. School lunch fees aren’t a tax, I know, except that they kind of are because our kids have to go to school, and they have to eat, and the cost of that is not small.

I did the math for my family. I have two children in school currently — one in first grade, the other a freshman in high school — and so far this school year, I’ve paid out $1,060.50 for their lunches. And we still have months of school to go.

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