A piece of legislation relating to tax increases quietly made its way through the North Dakota House today. That body passed House Concurrent Resolution 3040 on a vote of 55-34. Taxpayers should welcome the possibility of this change.
As it stands now, the legislature can increase existing taxes — or create new ones — with a simple majority vote. HCR 3040 proposes to change that via an amendment to Article X of the State Constitution. Its intent is quite simple:
“This measure would require a two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house of the legislative assembly to increase an existing tax or impose a new tax.”
If the resolution passes the Senate, it will then go to the 2022 General Election ballot for approval of the voters.
If passed, North Dakota wouldn’t be the first state to adopt a supermajority restriction on raising or creating new taxes. As noted by Forbes last April:
“As of 2018, 15 states require a legislative supermajority in both chambers to enact new taxes or increase existing taxes. The supermajority requirement varies from state to state; seven states require a two-thirds majority, five states require three-fifths, and three states require a three-fourths majority.”
While supermajority restrictions have been proven to restrain the growth of taxes in states that have them, they’ve also resulted in greater economic growth when compared to states that don’t. That’s a win for the people.
As author Dean Stansel put it:
“Today Americans have to spend more on taxes than they do on food, clothing, shelter and transportation combined. Other states with lower taxes… are prohibiting their legislatures from raising taxes without the explicit permission of the voters, a much stiffer restriction than a supermajority requirement. Is it really too much to ask that more than a simple majority of the legislature be required to raise [the] tax burden even higher?”
I don’t believe that it’s too much to ask at all. Hopefully the Senate will agree and allow us the opportunity to decide in November of 2022.
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- North Dakota Bill Versions: HCR 3040 (nd.gov)
- Are State Supermajority Requirements To Enact New Taxes A Good Idea? (forbes.com)
- Supermajority: A Super Idea | Cato Institute