There are no full sessions of the North Dakota Legislature in even-numbered years, but that doesn’t mean lawmakers have taken the whole time off. On the contrary, they are busy shaping legislation for consideration next year from testimony before interim committees
Of the 25 interim committees, the work of the Taxation Committee is one of the most important to small business. At its March 25 meeting in Minot, Gov. Jack Dalrymple testified before members on the work of his Property Tax Task Force, which he said confirmed that North Dakota’s system “is a web of one-at-a-time measures adopted over the last 60 years.”
According to a transcript of the meeting,
the governor said “there are 186 different levy limitations for various purposes. He said many of these levies can be repealed as they are duplicative, and others should be consolidated as they would be more fairly funded in other methods.”
On another issue, Terry Traynor of the North Dakota Association of Counties also testified on social services. “He said based on state fiscal year 2013, counties incurred an overall increase in expenditures for social services of 7.1 percent and an overall decrease of 3.1 percent in reimbursements coming from the state,” according to the meeting transcript.
Rep. Mike Nathe probed Traynor about what would happen if the state took over all social services programs. Interestingly, during his testimony, Governor Dalrymple said “the possibility of shifting social services costs to the state is a very complex and challenging proposition. He said based on research done by the Department of Human Services last year, the task force would not recommend this take place in one biennium.”
The Tax Committee took testimony from others and considered other issues. Taxes will forever fall harder on small businesses than large ones, which can spread increases over a wider group of customers and employees, which is why NFIB closely monitors the interim legislative work of committees.
“We can never afford to take our eye off the work done by interim legislative committees,” said Daniel Markels, west region state public policy director for NFIB. “It’s the surest way for small business to get run over when the 2015 session commences for business.”