Murphy’s Law #34

April 27, 2017

Today is the 77th Legislative Day of this session. There were at least 2 other days that everyone worked but were not counted due to a sleight of hand in technical parliamentary rules. In other words, it would be right up against the 80 day limit were if straightforward. Anyway, this looks like the last day.
I just walked out on discussion of the last of 19 amendments that had been attached to HB1015, the OMB budget bill which usually acts as a catch all for those trying one last time. The largest with fiscal impact that passed was for Higher Education – about $1.64 million to make NDSU whole after the Minard Hall deal was litigated.
These past two days featured almost no movement of legislation that mattered while the powers that be jockeyed for favored position/leverage. But one simply never knows what is going to be put on that OMB budget bill, so lobbyists are all hanging around to see if someone is going to try to do them in on the sly. Trust but verify, right?
A few at the end that growers may especially care about include HB1361 – that was the bill that contained property tax capped at 3 percent. The argument against it is simple; if your county is capped at a 3 percent increase, every county will levy to the max every time no matter if needed or not. As it is, many counties in ND in the past couple of years have not increased that much, so, although it passed the House, is got creamed in the Senate. As you probably heard in the news, SB2206 passed which will be paying for county social services. Most counties can expect their property taxes to go up as that will be a smaller amount going to the counties than the 12 percent buy down in place the last couple of years which was considered unsustainable in this economy.
Another development just now in the 19th amendment was an attempt to bring back a share of the corporate tax cut that we passed in 2015. It nearly passed but didn’t make the cut.