Letter: The trouble with the flat tax proposal
Anderson argues that those most in need gain nothing from the proposal.
To Gov. Doug Burgum, State Tax Commissioner Brian Kroshus, and Rep. Craig Hedland:
You are introducing a bill to cut North Dakota’s income tax . Other than the states with no income tax, we have the lowest before your tax plan. While you are so proud to give North Dakotans $250 million of income tax back, perhaps you – in your pressed jeans and button-down shirts – should meet some of our citizens at their kitchen tables:
#1: Foster parents and their foster kids. Ask them, what do you need every day? Ask the kids about the hell they have gone through and how, as state leaders, you can help them. I would guess that a behavioral health professional would be top of their family’s list, plus maybe funds for school supplies or sports equipment that they can’t afford, and, as a state, we don’t provide either. They weren’t in mind when you made this bill.
#2: A single parent with two kids working a $15 an hour job. Meet them at their kitchen table and look in the cupboards, refrigerator and closets. At $30,000 per year, they already pay very little in income tax. I bet they’d rather see a raise, benefits, and childcare assistance. This parent wasn’t in mind when you made this bill.
#3: Go have coffee at a domestic violence center and ask the stay-at-home mom with three children what she needs. Safe and affordable housing to put her children to bed at night might be top of the list. She wasn’t in mind when you made this bill.
#4: Sit at the kitchen table of a veteran and family struggling with his alcoholism. Since he can’t work because of addiction, he does not pay income taxes. I applaud the First Lady of ND for her great work on addiction and stigma. But, everyone sponsoring this lower income tax bill can be in an alcohol program within 24 to 48 hours because they have the status and the means to get it. On the other hand, this veteran will have to wait months for treatment because our behavioral health system for people like him is broken and chronically underfunded. He wasn’t in mind when you made this tax bill.
So, how is your new bill with a flat tax helping these families that don’t pay or pay very little in income tax now? I pay North Dakota income tax, and I’d like you to keep those dollars to help the families that didn’t win the family lottery, unlike myself and the sponsors of this bill.
Anderson, D-Fargo, represents District 41 in the North Dakota House of Representatives.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.