SUB COMMITTEE UPDATE: Business Climate
Greater North Dakota Chamber is in the process of developing our policy positions for the upcoming legislative session. This is done through the efforts of roughly 60 volunteers from GNDC member companies focusing on three core areas that impact the business community: Business Climate, Workforce, and Infrastructure. These volunteers have invested their time over the last several months to meet with elected and appointed state officials and other subject matter experts on a variety of issues that impact businesses in our state.
The Business Climate Subcommittee has heard from James Leiman, Department of Commerce Commissioner, who provided an overview of the North Dakota business climate, including opportunities in different sectors such as data centers.
Bryan Klipfel, Director of WSI, reviewed the efforts WSI undertakes to meet the needs of injured workers while maintaining low premiums for businesses. Injury rates have been reduced by over 30% over the last decade. In 2021, WSI issued $26 million in safety premium discounts to employers for successful participation in Safety Programs. In addition, North Dakota continuously ranks as one of the lowest premium states in the country.
Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread sat down with us to discuss health insurance. Mandates and the potential impacts on costs to employers continue to be an area of concern. We learned that the reinsurance pool has lowered costs by 20%. Information on the State Investment Board and potential uses of Legacy Fund earnings were also discussed.
Tax Commissioner Brian Kroshus discussed the current income tax structure as it compares to other states and provided an outlook of potential issues for the upcoming legislative session. North Dakota is one of 41 states with a state income tax and ranks among the lowest in terms of cost to the taxpayer. While tax revenues were up in all sectors for the first quarter, inflationary pressure and potential impacts to tax revenue is something that will continue to be monitored.
We also had the opportunity to hear from Rep. Craig Headland (District 29), Sen. Jessica Bell (District 33), and Sen. Don Schaible (District 31) shared their perspectives on tax policy and some potential approaches to both property and income tax relief. Rep. Headland is the chair of the House Finance and Taxation Committee, and Sen. Bell is the chair of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee. Sen. Schaible is the chair of the Education Committee.
Understanding where we are is key to developing an advocacy strategy for where we want to go. We would like to sincerely thank the volunteers that continue to share their time and insights with us as we go through this process. GNDC is here to advocate for our members. To do that effectively, we need to hear about the issues that are important to you.