Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - October 22, 2023

Burgum calls for Legislature to reconsider $91M income tax relief proposal during special session

‘When government collects more tax revenue than it needs, our first option should always be to return money to the taxpayers’; governor to deliver State of the State Address on Monday

Gov. Doug Burgum expressed his disappointment that the agenda for this week’s special session of the state Legislature does not include proposed income tax relief that would utilize part of the state’s $288 million in excess revenue from the 2021-2023 biennium, calling on lawmakers to reconsider the proposal.

The governor called the special session to address the 2023-2025 appropriations bill for the state Office of Management and Budget (OMB) after the North Dakota Supreme Court issued an opinion Sept. 28 voiding the bill, ruling it violated the state Constitution’s single-subject rule.

In addition to addressing the OMB budget, Burgum worked with legislative leaders and other lawmakers to propose $91 million in income tax relief. The tax relief would be supported by excess revenue from the 2021-2023 budget, which ended June 30 with a general fund ending balance of $1.488 billion – a record amount that was $288 million over the legislative forecast used in April, due to strong revenue collections and greater-than-expected general fund turnback from state agencies.

“We applaud Majority Leaders Lefor and Hogue, as well as two other members of the committee, for supporting the tax relief and putting the interests of citizens above bureaucratic processes. When government collects more tax revenue than it needs, our first option should always be to return money to the taxpayers. This proposed tax relief would allow North Dakota workers and homeowners to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets so they can invest it in their families, their communities and themselves,” Burgum said. “While we appreciate the desire to limit this special session to those items voided by the Supreme Court, we’re shocked and disappointed that Legislative Management failed to forward tax relief and some other common-sense proposals for the full Legislature to consider, missing a golden opportunity to ease the burden on taxpayers at a time when high inflation is still choking Americans. When state revenues far exceed expectations, tax relief should always be on the table, and we urge the Legislature to reconsider this proposal.”

The proposed income tax relief would raise the income threshold for the bottom (zero percent) tax bracket so that more North Dakotans would pay zero state income tax, and those who still had to pay income tax would pay less. The income threshold for the zero percent tax bracket would be raised from $44,725 to $60,000 for single filers and from $74,570 to $100,000 for married filing jointly. This would bring about 50,000 North Dakotans into the bottom tax bracket, effectively eliminating their state income tax while also helping the state recruit and retain workers.

The governor will deliver his State of the State Address at 9:15 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23, in the House chamber to kick off the special session.

Legislative Management also voted down several common-sense proposals that fixed language for the recently passed income tax reduction for military members, which would have correctly included all our state’s military personnel despite their status. Also not moved forward were simple proposals that would have given the University of North Dakota authority to sell land and allowed Bismarck State College to begin work on a new building supported by non-state dollars. All of these proposals were straightforward, cleanup provisions to reduce red tape.

Burgum calls special session of Legislature to address bill ruled unconstitutional by ND Supreme Court

Lawmakers will reconvene Oct. 23 to address OMB appropriations bill and limited strategic investments

Gov. Burgum issued an executive order Tuesday convening a special session of the state Legislature on Oct. 23 to address the components of a budget bill that was recently voided as unconstitutional by the North Dakota Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled Sept. 28 that Senate Bill 2015, the appropriations bill for the state Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was void because it violated the state Constitution’s rule that states, “No bill may embrace more than one subject, which must be expressed in its title.” The court’s ruling and the case docket originally indicated the opinion would take effect Oct. 28, but last Thursday the court issued a second opinion stating it had no authority to delay the judgement, so SB 2015 was voided immediately.

Legislative leaders sent Burgum a letter Friday, Oct. 13, requesting that he convene a special session to address SB 2015. They noted that all legislation enacted during a special session called by the governor becomes effective on the date specified in the act. By contrast, if the Legislature were to call itself back into session using the remaining five days of their 80-day biennial session limit, any bill that passed would not take effect for 90 days unless an emergency clause was approved by two-thirds of the Legislature.

Convening in special session next week will avoid a Nov. 1 interruption to state government services to citizens. Burgum’s executive order sets the scope of the special session as addressing the OMB budget, enacting other components of SB 2015 and making strategic investments in areas such as tax relief and infrastructure.

“Since the Supreme Court first ruled the OMB bill invalid, we have been collaborating with House and Senate leaders to navigate the complexities of calling the Legislature back for a special session, and we are grateful for their leadership and the work by Legislative Council,” Burgum said. “By calling the Legislature back into session, we can enact the OMB budget and other provisions of the bill before Nov. 1, continue delivering services to citizens without interruption and make strategic investments in areas such as tax relief and infrastructure that strengthen North Dakota’s economic future.”

Burgum encourages North Dakotans to attend 2023 Main Street ND Summit this week in Watford City

Gov. Burgum welcomes all North Dakotans to this year’s Main Street ND Summit Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 24-25, in Watford City, presenting an opportunity to connect, learn, get inspired and gain insight to build and grow communities for the future.

This year's Main Street ND Summit revolves around the theme of "Innovative Workforce Solutions," a topic that touches every North Dakota resident.

"We’ve heard from our communities about their challenges and have worked with them to develop positive solutions,” Burgum said. “Thanks to collaboration with our legislators, we now have funding opportunities for rural food sustainability, rural workforce housing and community vibrancy. We’re committed to preserving and elevating the excellence of North Dakota’s communities, and this summit is a key step in that journey.”

Community development and rural sustainability is supported by the four pillars of the Main Street Initiative: building Healthy, Vibrant Communities, cultivating a 21st Century Workforce, ensuring Smart, Efficient Infrastructure, and pursuing Economic Diversification. These principles are the fundamental building blocks of a bright future in which every North Dakotan plays a pivotal role.

The 2023 Main Street ND Summit will feature international thought leader Eric Termuende, North Dakota trailblazer Nick Ybarra and strategic workforce panels that will address the future of work, workforce shortages, community resiliency and more. Guided tours will highlight North Dakota's culture, heritage and development initiatives, including guided tours of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, exploration of the agricultural and energy sectors, cultural tours in Watford City, insights into community development, art classes, movie screenings, Western lifestyle experiences and cultural immersion.

For more information and details on how to register for the free event, visit mainstreetnd.com.

Miller participates in Civic Leader Day at ND National Guard headquarters

Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller on Wednesday participated in the 2023 Civic Leader Day with state legislators and local leaders, hosted by the North Dakota National Guard.

The day included briefings and a tour of operations at Fraine Barracks, headquarters for the North Dakota National Guard and Department of Emergency Services, both led by Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, the state's adjutant general. Fraine Barracks is also home to the State Emergency Operations Center.

Civic Leader Day is designed to give participants a better understanding of the capabilities of the North Dakota National Guard and its personnel.

North Dakota recognized with global innovator award

The state of North Dakota was recognized by global computer technology corporation, Oracle, as a PeopleSoft Feature Innovator. The state earned the award for deploying Oracle Guided Learning (OGL) within the state’s human resource and financial management system, PeopleSoft.

"This recognition is a testament to our commitment to enhancing user experiences and leveraging technology to make our systems more efficient,” said North Dakota Information Technology (NDIT) Chief Application Officer Evonne Amundson. “This is just one of the many changes we are partnering with the Office of Management and Budget to enhance the employee experience. Oracle Guided Learning has already become a game-changer. We're thrilled to be recognized and look forward to expanding this success to further improve user interactions with our systems."

A team from NDIT and the North Dakota Office of Management and Budget (OMB) collaborated to implement OGL to help users complete various processes within PeopleSoft. OGL provides real-time interactive user guidance to help with cross training, and to provide support on processes that are complex or not performed frequently. The team went live with close to 100 guides and plans to add more in the future.

"This successful collaboration with NDIT on the OGL project exemplifies our commitment to working as one across state agencies to enhance the user experience, even within our own systems,” said OMB Director Susan Sisk. “Our shared dedication to innovation and teamwork will continue to drive us through our future plans to add even more insightful guides to OGL.”