BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — State lawmakers are back to work at the capitol for a special session, during which they will vote on fourteen bills that are broken up from the previously passed Office of Management and Budget proposal.
Governor Burgum kicked off the special legislative session with a State of the State address in the House chamber.
In Burgum’s address, he called on legislators to consider a $91 million plan, one which he states would lower income tax and would spend around $70 million to attract workers to the state.
“Today marks only the 17th special session in our state’s 134-year history,” Burgum stated during his address. “I want to challenge this legislative body to seize this historic opportunity to provide tax relief to our citizens whose family budgets have been hit hard by inflation, and to make strategic investments in our state’s economic future.”
State lawmakers already passed a $515 million income and property tax relief package in the spring.
Now, Governor Burgum says this latest step would eliminate state income tax for about 50,000 workers — many of whom are working jobs, such as teachers and construction workers, that are in high demand.
“Our first option should always be to return the excess money to taxpayers,” Burgum declared. “This $91 million in income tax relief will allow North Dakota workers to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets so they can invest it in their families, their communities, and themselves.”
Governor Burgum also called for fixing a tax exemption for veterans, and a $20 million increase to the $25 million destination development grant. He has also asked that legislators allow state schools such as UND and Bismarck State College to receive non-state funding.
“BSC is in my district,” stated Representative Karen Karls, “and they would like permission to use non-governmental money to build a new sporting complex — I guess it’s a wellness center-type building. It’s not using state funding, but they need permission from the legislature. I like that idea a lot.”
The governor called for the special session last week, and the legislature has until October 27 to send the bills to his desk.
Burgum says that these cleanup bills are straightforward and common sense and that by passing them this week, legislators can continue to cut through red tape and bureaucracy.
During the evening of October 23, the House of Representatives made their decision on one of Governor Burgum’s requests. After a brief debate, the House voted to approve the income tax cut with a vote of 71 to 21.
“Middle-class America is getting crushed,” stated Majority Leader Representative Mike Lefor during a speech. “It is time for us to do something about that. This is not a big ask. This is not a complicated thing we’re talking about here. Why wouldn’t we do it now? provide more tax relief to the citizens of North Dakota. The time is now. The time is right. I ask you to vote green.”
Governor Burgum has also declared October 23-28 a week of prayer in support of Israel. You can find his most recent proclamation here.