Refund Law Crafted By MSU Group - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Refund Law Crafted By MSU Group

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The state Tax Department announced yesterday it is ready to accept applications for state sales tax refunds from people hit by flooding in 2011.

The refund bill was passed by the 2013 legislature and signed into law by the governor this spring.

It provides a refund of state sales tax paid on items related to repairing or rebuilding a primary residence that was damaged by flood water two years ago.

But the bill wasn't crafted in the legislature.

Jim Olson reports on how the refund plan was born.

(Rep. Andy Maragos) "Their data was invaluable."

(Sen. Karen Krebsbach) "What really came through was their dedicated desire to help out."

State legislators announcing the start of a state sales tax refund for flood victims in the state were happy to deflect credit for the law to its authors. Who were they? The place the announcement was made was a hint.

(Sen. Karen Krebsbach) "This is where the idea was conceived."

It was here at Minot State University that House Bill 1459 began. Because about one-fourth of the people who work here had been hit by the record flooding.

(Vicki Troftgruben, MSU Staff Senate President) "What we decided to do was to see what we could do to help these folks out."

Staff Senate President Vicki Troftgruben and five others decided a sales tax refund might pass muster with legislators - and be of some help to their friends and co-workers - and people across the state.

(Vicki Troftgruben, MSU Staff Senate President) "A committee of six of us got together, did some research, and found some examples from the state of Tennessee. So we were able to put a program together fairly quickly, fairly efficiently that had worked in another state and take it to the local legislators."

They took it to Senator Karen Krebsbach who introduced it in the special session last November. But while the bill died there, the enthusiasm for it at MSU did not.

(Vicki Troftgruben, MSU Staff Senate President) "And we contacted Senator Krebsbach again and said is there any way you can sponsor this again in this legislative session. She kept it kind of on the front burner."

(Sen. Karen Krebsbach) "It was simple for us as legislators to deal with because they had done their homework and when you do that homework you're a step ahead."

And in the 2013 legislative session, the bill became law.

(Vicki Troftgruben, MSU Staff Senate President) "We were ecstatic, not just for the folks of Minot but Bismarck, Jamestown, Valley City, all those folks, and even Fargo if they were able to claim some benefit from some of this."

A benefit made possible by the work of a few people at Minot State University who wanted to help their friends and neighbors get their lives back on track. Jim Olson, KX News.

The sales tax refund form is available at the state Tax Department's web site at nd.gov/tax.

A request for a refund must be filed by the end of the year.

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