Here's what you need to know about what's happening for small businesses in North Dakota
On December 19, 2022, North Dakota’s Leadership Council held a meeting to get an update on what’s happening when it comes to small business issues in the state. The 2023 legislative session starts on January 3rd.
State Director Alison Ritter and Legislative Director Don Larson started off by welcoming new member candidateRick Dutchak, General Manager of James Oil Well Service, Inc. NFIB also has a new resource for activism in Ben Abrahamson, who is stepping in as North Dakota’s grassroots manager. Ben is a Minnesota native and used to the bitter cold Midwest winters!
Larson reminded members what happened the last time lawmakers met for the 2021 Legislative session. NFIB tracked several bills that had to do with mandates, COVID Liabilities, health insurance premiums, minimum wage mandates, fuel tax increases. Lowering costs of health insurance coverage, and invisible reinsurance programs. In 2022, NFIB made 44 endorsements for the last election based on voting record. NFIB North Dakota added Secretary of State to the endorsement panel. We were successful in 43 of 44 endorsements.
Here in North Dakota, there are six major leadership positions. This year, five of the six are new because of retirements and losing seats. In the Senate, David Hogue is the Senate Majority leader, Kathy Hogan is the Senate Minority leader, and Brad Bekkedahl is the Senate Appropriations Chair. There are 43 Republicans and 4 Democrats. In the House, Mike Lefor is the House Majority leader, Josh Boschee is the House Minority leader, and Don Vigesaa is the Appropriations chair. There are 82 Republicans and 12 Democrats.
This month, Gov. Doug Burgum gave his Budget address. Major themes were workforce development with $167 million in programs, childcare, new worker recruitment, workforce innovation and a 1.5% flat income tax proposal. This would make North Dakota the lowest income tax state of any state that has one. Meanwhile on the legislative front, another group of legislators are going after property tax reduction. When it comes to infrastructure, North Dakota received $1.2 Billion in federal funds. The state will match with $300 million from the Strategic Improvement Investment Fund and $125 million from the General fund. This year’s legislature is a young, new legislature and a precursor to what things will look like now that term limit measure has passed. Already discussions are being had of maybe moving toward yearly session with eight year lifetime term limits now implemented with the passage of Measure 1. That means that every ten years when redistricting is done it will only allow a certain group to serve for six years instead of eights.
Looking ahead, NFIB is urging members to fill out their state ballots. The ballot is important because it gives NFIB an idea of what issues are important to small business owners so that NFIB can advocate for what you want at the state capitol.
When session starts on January 3, 2023, some possible issues that may come up are abortion related bills, COVID pushback and recreational marijuana. Also look forward to Small Business Day at the Capitol in Bismarck sometime this session with coffee and donuts to discuss workforce development and the opportunity to engage with your lawmakers.