North Dakota is facing a budget shortfall entirely the result of shortsighted decisions by the Republican-led Legislature.
The supermajority cut corporate taxes, 80 percent of which went to out-of-state corporations. A review of the data shows that corporate income taxes fell by 63 percent between 2013 and what is estimated for 2017. In 2013, the state collected $187 million from corporations and expects to collect $68.3 million. This tax cutting occurred at a time of record population growth and record business growth.
With the growth in both population and business, it was never clear why such massive tax incentives were needed to encourage investment. The brunt of the budget shortfall is felt in schools that are underfunded, in higher property taxes and fewer services for those on the margins. In other words, the tax cuts impacted those least able to absorb the impact.
If we are to succeed as a state and attract entrepreneurs and business, we must fund education, reduce property taxes and support those among us who are struggling. To do this, we must elect representatives from the community who are interested in people and not institutions and who will bring new voices to the Legislature. Clearly, we cannot count on those in office to have our backs.
James Allen, Bismarck