Government looks to stem exodus

North Dakota State Roundup

Published March 1, 2004  | March 2004 issue

The state Legislature is looking into ways to grow North Dakota's economy and stem the tide of migration out of the state. These issues will likely be more prominent this session, during a legislative and gubernatorial election year, than they were in 2003.

Elimination of the state's corporate income tax is one item under discussion. The tax currently provides 6 percent of state revenues, a figure that has declined in recent years, mirroring national trends, as corporations have become more adept at avoiding taxes and more businesses have adopted noncorporate governing structures such as limited liability partnerships. Even so, the issue is likely to be contentious.

Also under consideration is expansion of discounted loans for entrepreneurs from the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. This proposal is also controversial, as it would cut into revenue.

Other measures that have already passed include a $5 million fund to develop spinoff businesses from university research, tax breaks for research parks and a $200,000 advertising campaign to promote the state's research corridor between the universities in Fargo and Grand Forks.

Joe Mahon