North Dakota House rejects compromise on tax break for Social Security benefits

North Dakota Legislature
The North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck. Photo illustration by Troy Becker

BISMARCK — The North Dakota House rejected a compromise bill creating a new income tax deduction for Social Security benefits Monday, April 22, sending legislative negotiators back to the drawing board.

As introduced, House Bill 1174 would have allowed people to reduce their North Dakota taxable income by the amount of any Social Security benefits included on their federal taxable income. It was estimated to cost $20.8 million in the next two-year budget cycle.

But the Senate blunted the fiscal impact of the bill, and a conference committee landed at a compromise that limits the tax break to those with a federal adjusted gross income of $50,000 or less, or at most $75,000 for married couples filing jointly. It would have cost $4.2 million in 2019-21, according to Bismarck Republican Rep. Jason Dockter.

Rep. Ben Koppelman, R-West Fargo, said "it's sad that we think that tax relief is just too expensive."

The bill will be debated again in a House-Senate conference committee before it's reconsidered on the floor.

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