Sometimes, it is worthwhile to look back and see how far our state has come in the last two decades. The prosperity and economic vitality of today’s North Dakota stands in sharp contrast with the North Dakota of two decades ago. Our state is now the fastest growing state for population, exports, personal income, and rated the best state to begin a small business. Two decades ago, we lost thousands of jobs and residents. Today, our state is the talk of the nation. Back in the early 90s, the nonsensical “Buffalo Commons” theory was the rage.
After graduating from NDSU in engineering and then from UND with my MBA and law degree, I chose to become an entrepreneur. Our state welcomes entrepreneurs and new businesses with a pro-business, pro-growth attitude. An entrepreneur is ultimately responsible for his or her venture. Success or failure, to a great extent, depends on the entrepreneur. In North Dakota, if we fail, it is not the fault of, nor the responsibility of the state. Having a pro-growth, pro-small business climate gives us an opportunity to seek our future with confidence. Two decades ago, I would have been forced to move to another section of the country to attempt to start my own business. Fortunately for me, North Dakota is now the best place to start a business.
The past sessions of the North Dakota Legislature has seen impressive tax rate reductions across the board. Reducing property and corporate tax rates must continue. While there is legitimate disagreement over the size and make up of tax rate reduction, most would agree that a low tax, pro-growth policy bests fits our state. I would suggest that one area in which to look is in personal income tax policy. For young people, graduates, and those who may not own their home or will move into an apartment when they come, income taxes are important. A low or no state income tax can help young people, especially when the federal government has a never ending appetite for more revenue, which means more federal taxes. It is an area that needs to examined in the next legislative session.
Some will say that our prosperity is only because we have oil. There is no question that oil has been a key factor in our growth. But, it is important to remember that we are not the only state with oil. California, among others, has oil, but few would consider it to be a model for other states. Having abundant God-given resources, a terrific work force, innovative and committed entrepreneurs and business leaders, and a pro-growth, pro-business Legislature and Executive branch have combined to put North Dakota in this enviable position. It is our job to keep it moving forward. We need to keep our state moving forward. It matters that you vote and whom you vote for.