FILE: NORTH DAKOTA CAPITOL

North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck

(The Center Square) - North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum touted his plan to reduce the state’s income taxes during his State of the State address given Tuesday to a joint session of the 68th Legislative Assembly.

The income tax relief plan would eliminate income taxes for three out of five taxpayers, according to Burgum.

“Inflation and rising interest rates are eating away at family finances. Consumer prices in November were up over 7% from a year ago,” Burgum said. “Let’s show our working families in North Dakota that we understand their struggles by expediting this income tax relief legislation and making it one of the first bills to be signed this session.”

The bill would make North Dakota’s individual income tax the lowest flat rate in the nation if passed, the governor said.

He also called for lawmakers to support pending legislation that would exempt active-duty military members from paying individual income taxes in the state.

Burgum is also asking lawmakers to tackle property taxes.

“I’m not talking about subsidizing local property taxes with more state transfers of dollars like we’ve done with 17 bills and billions of dollars over the years. I’m talking about how do we actually understand and figure out how to reduce local property taxes,” Burgum said.

As previously reported, one proposal would erase state income taxes for single filers making $54,725 or less and married fliers making $95,000 or less, affecting about 388,000 North Dakotans. Those who make more money would pay a flat tax of 1.5%. The current rate is 2.04% to 2.9%, according to the news release.

The governor said tax breaks would be one of the ways to address the current statewide shortage of workers, which he called North Dakota’s primary barrier to economic growth.

Burgum highlighted other strategies to boost the state’s workforce, including funding career academies, supporting the availability and affordability of child care, using incentives to get industries to adopt automation and implementing workforce development and recruitment programs.

Big ticket items the governor supported include a proposed $20 million in emergency snow removal grants, $30 million in the governor’s executive budget proposal for Vantis – a statewide network that enables unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to conduct flights beyond the visual line of sight – and $7 million for the Grand Sky UAS business and aviation park in Grand Forks.

His executive budget also includes a request for more than $51 million for improvements and expansions at state parks and recreation sites and $50 million for a Destination Development Fund to build or expand “unique attractions.”

Infrastructure spending stands to be some of the biggest, with the North Dakota Department of Transportation spending $318 this biennium to rebuild roads and bridges, according to the governor, along with $2.4 billion in the proposed 2023-2025 state budget for infrastructure projects.