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5 things to know today: tax relief, project funding, adoption rules, ‘divisive issues,’ MoorHeart award – InForum

1. Which North Dakota tax break will benefit you the most? here are some answers

Republican advocates of a flat state income tax propose a simple approach: no income tax for low- and modest-income taxpayers, and tax gains beyond that level at 1.5%.

Supporters of the single tax, including Gov. Doug Burgum, say it would eliminate state income taxes for three out of five state taxpayers.

For example, someone with an adjusted gross income of $50,000 pays $408 in state income taxes under current law, but would not be required to pay state income taxes under the flat tax proposal, according to figures from the Office of the Commissioner of North Dakota taxes.

But the tax breaks under the single tax proposed in House Bill 1158 are especially important for top earners.

Someone with an adjusted gross income of $100,000 pays $1,405 in state income taxes under current law, but would see a $726 reduction and still pay $679 in tax.

A wage earner with an adjusted gross income of $500,000 who now pays state income taxes of $11,670 would instead pay $6,679 under the flat tax, a reduction of $4,991.

And the reduction would increase to $11,991 for a filer with an adjusted gross income of $1 million.

Read more from Patrick Springer of Forum News Service

2. Red River Valley mayors hope water supply project will get additional funding from the Legislature

The file photo of the smoke rising from the North Dakota Capitol and the chimneys of almost every building and house surely reveals the sub-zero temperatures.
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Red River Valley mayors are hopeful the North Dakota Legislature will go ahead with requested funding for a water supply project and save cities money in the process.

Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski joined Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney and West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis to discuss the Red River Valley Water Supply Project and the need to move the project forward during a Senate appropriations hearing on January 19.

The Red River Water Supply Project is an effort to “provide an emergency water supply to central and eastern North Dakota during times of water scarcity to protect public health, ensure continued economic vitality, and provide environmental benefits in river systems,” according to the project’s website.

The total cost of the project is $1.3 billion, but with inflation, the price is likely to increase. Alan Walter, chairman of The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District Board, said if lawmakers postpone the project, it could cost $75 million to $100 million more each year.

“It is important that we get this project up and running and get it funded as quickly as possible to save hundreds of millions of dollars for the state and the people of North Dakota,” Walter said during Thursday’s hearing.

The request for the 2023-25 ​​biennium in state funds is for $255 million, which Bochenski told the Herald in an interview Monday is an increase of $85 million from the $170 million in Gov. Doug Burgum’s budget.

Read more from Forum News Service’s Meghan Arbegast

3. North Dakota bill seeks to protect Native American adoption rules as court decision looms

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The cause of the recent increases in the price of eggs is multiple and consumers are fighting against it.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

As Indian Country braces for a potentially seismic court decision, Native American lawmakers and tribal advocates in North Dakota hope to consolidate decades-old federal adoption rules into state law.

Rep. Jayme Davis, D-Rolette, is sponsoring House Bill 1536, which would tie the crux of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to North Dakota’s books .

Davis, an enrolled member of Chippewa’s Turtle Mountain Band, told the House Human Services Committee Monday, Jan. 23, that the bipartisan proposal would help ensure Native American children grow up with strong family and cultural ties intact.

An extensive congressional investigation in the 1970s found that social service agencies and the courts had removed approximately one-third of Native American children from their homes and placed them in non-Native American homes and institutions. In previous decades, the federal government required many Native American children to attend boarding schools designed to strip students of their culture, language, and ties of kinship.

The research findings prompted Congress to pass ICWA in 1978. The landmark legislation set a higher bar for removing Native American children from their home communities by giving preference to extended family and other members for foster care and adoption. tribal.

The law remains in effect nationwide, but the US Supreme Court heard arguments last year in a case that could threaten ICWA’s future.

The state of Texas and several non-native adoptive parents allege in a lawsuit against Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland that ICWA constitutes discrimination based on race. Lawyers for the federal government argued that the law protects the interests of Native American children and tribal communities.

Lawyers representing a coalition of tribes called ICWA “one of the most important Indian federal laws ever enacted” and asked the court to leave the law alone.

The high court is expected to rule on the case later this year.

Read more from Jeremy Turley of Forum News Service

4. Bill would ban instruction on ‘divisive topics’ in higher education

North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck.

North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck.

A bill that would ban the instruction of “divisive concepts” in higher education institutions met with opposition from higher education leaders during testimony before the Senate Education Committee on Monday.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bob Paulson, R-Minot, divisive concepts include claims that America is inherently racist or sexist, that all Americans are not created equal or endowed with inalienable rights, and that Meritocracies are oppressive by nature. Additionally, the bill would prohibit discrimination or disciplinary action against students or teachers solely because of their views.

“There is a feeling of intimidation among people who speak out against these concepts,” Paulson said. “And that worries me. Why are they intimidated, why are they afraid?

When asked by Sen. Jay Elkin, R-Taylor, for quantitative evidence about the prevalence of discrimination against opposing viewpoints on college campuses, Paulson said “the test will be challenging,” but provided an anecdote from a person who claimed to have received a lower rating. due to his political beliefs. Paulson did not offer further details about the individual’s identity, or where and when the event occurred.

Read more from Joe Banish of Forum News Service

5. Transformative experiences inspired a Moorhead man to help children in the community thrive

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Peter Ferguson exclaims during an Operation Enrichment bowling party on Tuesday 17th January 2023 at Sunset Lanes, Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

World traveler and long time Moorhead resident Peter Ferguson is your quintessential idyllic neighbor who spends each day serving others.

In addition to founding and running his nonprofit academic support organization, Enrichment Operation, Ferguson is a substitute teacher at Horizon Middle School, a DJ for Radio Free Fargo, and an avid outdoorsman. He spends his spare time fishing, foraging, hunting, camping, cooking, traveling, and giving concerts.

In recognition of his efforts to improve the lives of community members, specifically local youth, Ferguson received the MoorHeart Award from Moorhead City Council on November 14, 2022.

The award culminates Ferguson’s work, which is derived from experiences in all moments of his life.

Growing up, the 36-year-old created many wonderful memories during his time in elementary school.

However, things changed when he and his two brothers reached high school.

Read more from The Forum’s Melissa Van Der Stad