Oil, gas industry makes tax relief plan possible

North Dakota is a rich state thanks to its lucrative oil and gas industry bringing extensive oil and gas tax revenues into the state’s coffers.

All this makes it possible for a significant plan released earlier this week.

Gov. Doug Burgum and legislative leaders announced at a news conference a tax relief plan to replace the state’s individual income tax rates with a single, lower flat tax.

They said this plan will save North Dakota taxpayers about $250 million annually and eliminate the individual income tax burden altogether for nearly 60% of the state’s taxpayers.

What that means is almost 60% of taxpayers won’t have to pay state income tax and those who do pay will see their income tax liability reduced by about one-quarter to one-half, according to the governor.

There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with that but it will be the topic of discussion when the North Dakota Legislature reconvenes for its next session in 2023.

Legislators like Rep. Larry Bellew of Minot told The Minot Daily News the plan is a good start but he feels it needs to go further, like eliminating state income tax totally and property-tax reform should also be part of the discussion.

Certainly there will be some not in favor of the plan for various reasons, including a preference to address rising property taxes first.

If the plan is accepted by N.D. legislators, it will be a major step ahead for this state, making it one of the lowest flat-tax states in the nation.

Burgum said in announcing the plan that it makes North Dakota a more attractive place to work and a more affordable place to live.

Making all this possible goes back to the state’s lucrative oil and gas industry. It also comes at a time when the Biden administration is making strong efforts to eliminate fossil fuels.

It’s something for every North Dakotan to keep in mind that the oil and gas industry is doing more than production but also helping individuals and communities.


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