Obscene Tax Profits

Bismarck Tribune – March 18th 2006

The State of North Dakota is reaping obscene profits off the backs of hard working North Dakotans. While North Dakotans have to adjust their budgets to heat their homes, send their kids to college, and fill up their tanks – the State is bragging that it has so much money in reserves it doesn’t know what to do with it.

The State of North Dakota announced last Wednesday that its tax revenues are 20% higher than expected – this amounts to an over-charge. All the while tuition prices increase at a rate of 9.9% per year.

Soon, candidates for the state legislature will start making proposals as for how that surplus should be spent. This while, certain U.S. Senators have criticized the oil industry for reaping ‘obscene profits’ during a time of emergency.

If $100 million in unexpected tax revenue isn’t obscene, I don’t know what is. (The expected surplus was $100 million at the time of the piece, it is now $580 million)

Many candidates will point to teacher pay, fixing the decrepit road around the state (and in Bismarck in particular), or some other new spending. But these areas have already been fully funded, supposedly.

It is not like we are asking the state to do with less. The State set a budget and raised more than it needed to fulfill that budget. Will tax rates for the next biennium be adjusted? Or will the State horde the earnings of hard working North Dakotans?

Luckily, we don’t have legislators spending more than they have. Instead, they are taking more than they need.

And gas just hit $2.50 for the cheap stuff again; 23 cents of that goes to the State of North Dakota. This amounts to nothing more than institutionalized gouging at the pumps. When will it be enough?


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