Friday, March 22, 2024 - 02:25 pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation Chairman Mark Fox and State Tax Commissioner Brian Kroshus today signed a historic alcohol tax revenue sharing agreement – the first such agreement to be executed under a new law enacted last year.

Last year the state Legislature passed, and Burgum signed, Senate Bill 2377, which allows each of the five tribal nations in North Dakota to enter into an agreement with the state to impose a single tax on alcoholic beverages sold at the retail and wholesale levels within their respective reservations. Tribal nations that adopt the alcohol tax will keep 80% of the tax revenue, while the state’s general fund will receive 20%, with taxes being collected by the Office of State Tax Commissioner. MHA Nation is the first tribe to execute an agreement with the state under the new law.

“This agreement underscores the commitment of the state of North Dakota and MHA Nation to work together for the mutual benefit of their communities. It provides exactly the kind of fair and uniform framework for collecting alcohol taxes on reservations that we hoped to achieve when signing the legislation last year,” Burgum said, noting the bulk of the revenue will go to the tribes to support addiction treatment and other programs. “We thank Chairman Fox, the Legislature, Commissioner Kroshus and everyone who worked to pass the law and execute this agreement, showing once again how relationships built on understanding and mutual respect allow us to address longstanding challenges and reach solutions that benefit all citizens of North Dakota.”

“The MHA Nation has been contending with the impacts of alcohol being sold on our reservation for a very long time. It has greatly burdened our judicial system with domestic violence, alcohol-related injuries and deaths from vehicle accidents, and various forms of crime,” Fox said. “This new tax revenue will help relieve the tremendous amount of money our government spends yearly to provide treatment services related to alcohol addiction, social and wellness services, and supplement enhancements to law enforcement. I would like to thank Governor Burgum, State Tax Commissioner Brian Kroshus and the ND State Legislature for working with us on this agreement that benefits our Nation and the State of North Dakota.”

“The revenue-share agreement with MHA signifies another important state-tribal partnership and serves as an additional building block that supports continued collaboration with our valued tribal partners throughout North Dakota,” Kroshus said during today's ceremony at the Capitol. 

The Governor’s Office had worked with tribal nations, legislators and the Office of the State Tax Commissioner for several years to negotiate an acceptable framework for revenue sharing agreements and avoid a double taxation situation in which both the state and tribe could levy separate alcohol taxes on reservations. SB 2377 was introduced by Sen. Dale Patten of Watford City and co-sponsored by Sen. Jordan Kannianen of New Town and Rep. Craig Headland of Montpelier, who chair the Senate and House tax committees, respectively.

The bill was approved unanimously in both the House and Senate. It improved upon an alcohol tax revenue sharing bill that passed in 2019 but hadn’t been utilized.