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Taxes take too big a bite out of paychecks of North Dakotans

If someone told you that by living in North Dakota you would have less money to spend than you would by moving to one of 33 other states, what would your reaction be?...

Gawrylow

If someone told you that by living in North Dakota you would have less money to spend than you would by moving to one of 33 other states, what would your reaction be?

According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation and the U.S. Department of Labor, hard working North Dakotans, on average, have fewer dollars left over each payday after taxes than 33 other states. Southern states such as Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia, where wages are even lower, and industrial Midwest states, such as Indiana, where globalization has hit are the types of places you'd have to move to have even less money left over after taxes than North Dakota.

In North Dakota, 61 percent of households earn less than $35,000 in taxable income according to the North Dakota Tax Department. Less than 3 percent of North Dakotans have over $150,000 in taxable income. Nationally, over 20 percent of taxpayers earn in excess of $150,000. The simple fact in North Dakota is that earnings are lower than national averages, and taxes (federal, state and local) take a bigger percentage of the average earner's income than all but 11 states.

North Dakota's energy and farm sectors are booming. While we know that will not always be the case, it is time that the state passes along its windfall profits from those industries to the average North Dakotan. So long as the state is levying more tax than it needs to pay for the government approved by the legislative process, the people deserve a voice that can be heard.

With the current surge of tax dollars coming from the renewed energy and farm economies, now is the time for North Dakota to embrace the idea of letting every North Dakotan keep more of their check on payday.

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In May, the federal government will start sending out checks to every taxpayer in the amount of $600 for single filers and $1,200 for married. This strategy of one-time rebates has been proven over and over to be inefficient and ineffective in stimulating the economy. Conversely, it has been proven time and again that reducing the long-term tax rates of all taxpayers is the surest way to promote economic growth. This is why Americans for Prosperity of North Dakota has proposed the initiated measure to cut individual state income tax rates by 50 percent and corporate rates by

15 percent.

When former Gov. Ed Schafer and Americans for Prosperity of North Dakota proposed the idea of cutting the state income tax by half for individuals, we realized that the economy was heading for a downturn. At the time, the projected impact of the state income tax cut was

$327 million; today media reports quote the OMB director as saying the tax cut will have a $400 million impact. The tax cut would allow $400 million every two years to remain in the hands of North Dakota - that is real economic stimulus.

Gawrylow, Bismarck, is state policy director, Americans for Prosperity of North Dakota.

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