BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today delivered his State of the State Address to a special session of the North Dakota Legislature, urging lawmakers to approve a $91 million income tax relief proposal and strategic investments in infrastructure and the economy.
Meeting in special session for only the 17th time in state history, lawmakers were called back to Bismarck by Burgum to address the 2023-2025 appropriations bill for the state Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The North Dakota Supreme Court issued an opinion Sept. 28 voiding the bill, ruling it violated the state Constitution’s single-subject rule.
The proposed income tax relief would raise the income threshold for the zero percent tax bracket from $44,725 to $60,000 for single filers and from $74,570 to $100,000 for married filing jointly. This would bring about 50,000 North Dakotans into the bottom tax bracket, effectively eliminating their state income tax while also helping the state recruit and retain workers. The tax relief would use part of the state’s $288 million in excess revenue from the 2021-2023 biennium.
“When our state government collects more than it needs to operate and to fill reserves, our first option should be to return excess money to taxpayers. And we should ensure that any tax dollars that are being utilized have a high return on investment for taxpayers,” Burgum said. “We now have this special session to accelerate our economic success by capitalizing on this opportunity to provide tax relief and invest in our citizens and our state’s future. North Dakotans, like all Americans, are suffering under the insidious effects of inflation, which is raising their costs and eroding their savings.”
“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,” Burgum added. “This is a simple thing to do – and it’s the right thing to do.”
Burgum also called on the Legislature to invest $70 million of the excess revenue to enhance the state’s infrastructure and help attract workforce. That includes investing $50 million into the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s Flexible Transportation Fund, created by the Legislature last spring.
“By making this investment, we can complete more road and bridge projects across the state that leverage federal funding and corridor improvements on county, city and township roadways,” Burgum said. “And we can help advance very large, private sector capital investments for value-added ag and value-added energy.”
The remaining $20 million would be invested into the Destination Development Grant Program, which received $25 million last session. Demand for the matching grant program has been high, with 81 applications seeking $151 million received over the summer. The additional $20 million would allow the program to support more private sector investment and the creation of more tourism destinations that will attract visitors and workforce to the state.
Burgum also urged lawmakers to address several common-sense proposals, including ones that would fix language for the recently passed income tax exemption for military members, give the University of North Dakota authority to sell land and allow Bismarck State College to begin work on a new building supported by non-state dollars.
Burgum also announced that he has issued a proclamation declaring Oct. 23-28 a Week of Prayer in Support of Israel. The Governor’s Residence will again be illuminated in the colors of the Israeli flag this week.