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North Dakota State Corporate and State Income Tax Rates, Initiated Statutory Measure 2 (2008)

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The Income Tax Cut Initiative, also known as Measure Two, was an initiated state statute on the November 4, 2008 ballot in North Dakota, where it was defeated.

Election results

Measure 2 (2008)
Defeatedd No210,59869.73%
Yes 91,412 30.27%

Election Results via: The North Dakota Secretary of State |}

Specific Provisions

The goal of the ballot initiative was to lower North Dakota's state corporate income tax rates by 15 percent and the adjusted state individual income tax rates by 50 percent for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2008. The initiative would have amended sections 57-38-30 and 57-38-30.3 of the North Dakota Century Code.


  • The North Dakota chapter of Americans for Prosperity sponsored the initiative. The chapter said that it wants to make sure that "No taxpayer is left behind"[1] and demands that the legislature cut taxpayers a break given a possible surplus of over a billion dollars by 2009.[2]
  • State Representative Blair Thoreson supported Measure Two.

Supporting Arguments

Arguments made in support of the measure included:

  • The average family household earning $50,000 in taxable income will save around $500, that is real money to a lot of families. We should look at the surplus as an opportunity to increase the disposable income of the average family in North Dakota. We hear about North Dakota being a low wage state all the time, now is the time to declare that the state will be part of the solution to that problem, rather than adding to it.[4]
  • Measure Two represents permanent and immediate tax relief for North Dakotans who have contributed to the vast state surplus everyone now agrees will exceed one-billion-dollars.[5]
  • Last session, we spent 78 days debating how to provide tax relief to North Dakotans. However, the compromise we eventually approved expires soon. This measure will guarantee that taxpayers get long-term relief, not rebates based on what's might be agreed to each time the legislature meets.[6]
  • Income tax revenues have nearly doubled in eight years, helping to produce the more than $1 billion in surplus in North Dakota. We can afford to give some of people’s money back to the working men and women of North Dakota---without hurting essential services and needs in the state.[7]
  • The Tax Foundation found in a recent study that North Dakota's economy is capable of handling the tax cuts, and that higher rates of economic growth will follow. Tax Counsel Joseph Henchman said, "If North Dakota moves in the direction of lowering tax burdens without undermining government services, there is a strong likelihood that better economic performance will follow," explaining that lower tax rates encourage innovation and investment.


A group called Partners to Protect North Dakota's Future opposed both the income tax measure and North Dakota Constitutional Measure 1 (2008).

Members of the coalition included:

Other groups that opposed the measure are the North Dakota Farm Bureau, the North Dakota Rural Electric Cooperatives, and the North Dakota Board of Higher Education

Arguments against Measure 2

Arguments in opposition to the measure included:

  • It would hamper state and local governments’ and school boards’ ability to respond to emergencies or shifting priorities in the future.[9]
  • A cut might not be sustainable when the oil industry or economy takes a downturn.[10]

Taxpayer Perspective

Statutory Measure No. 2 would lower the state corporate income tax by 15 percent and cut the state personal income tax in half beginning in 2009. North Dakota is projected to have a $1.3 billion budget surplus, and this measure could save taxpayers over $415 million over the next two years.[11]

Path to the ballot

The initiative was approved for circulation in July 2007 by the North Dakota Secretary of State and was given one year to collect the 12,844 required valid signatures.

On July 21st, 15,667 signatures were submitted for approval. On August 25, 2008, it was announced that the measure had qualified for the fall balot. If placed on the November 4th general election ballot and approved by voters, the changes to the tax code would take effect on January 1st, 2009.[12],[13],[14]

See also

External links