MINOT, N.D. — Even though North Dakota is running a significant budget surplus, the outlook for meaningful tax relief from the Legislature in Bismarck just got quite a bit dimmer.
Heading into this session, there were two competing proposals for delivering tax relief. One is House Bill 1158 , which details Gov. Doug Burgum’s plan to eliminate income taxes entirely for most North Dakotans, while reducing the rate for those at the top of the income brackets who would still be obliged to pay. The other is Senate Bill 2066, which would continue the Legislature’s futile efforts to buy down local property taxes with state appropriations.
The state has spent $7.25 billion on property tax buydowns over the last decade and a half, to no avail, as most North Dakotans continue to be displeased with their property taxes.
Yet more property tax buydowns is where the Legislature is focused, as the Senate Appropriations Committee just gutted Burgum’s proposal. Instead of reducting the state’s income tax brackets to just two — a zero percent bracket for North Dakotans making under $44,725 in taxable income per year, and 1.5% for everyone else — the amendment approved by the committee only zeros out the bottom bracket.
Here’s how it looks now in the amended legislation :