As I was watching clips from the new Rock Center program with Brian Williams and listening to his takeaway from the growth in North Dakota, it started to sink in exactly how tough it is for businesses to compete and thrive in the nation right now. The program featured a segment about Williston, North Dakota, and the massive growth taking place there - but what struck me was how amazed that the hosts and reporters were that businesses were doing so well in a climate in the country that seems unsteady and at a time when the rest of the country struggle. What exactly allows North Dakota to buck the national trend? Most will say 'Well, they struck oil!', but so have states like Texas, California, Alaska (1, 2, 3 in oil producing states respectively) as well as Wyoming, South Dakota, Louisiana, Oklahoma, etc. Sure we also have an excellent agricultural economy, but that's also something that isn't unique to us, (look at California, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, etc). What I think is a critical point is that we have a state government that works hard to try and help businesses grow, and to try and attract businesses into the area. Since our state makes growing our economy and attracting businesses its top priority, it has been able to gerenate results.
On Friday I received a small package from the State Tax Commissioner's office. Inside was a letter from Tax Commissioner Cory Fong as well as a book that was put together by his office entitled: "North Dakota Tax Incentives For Business: North Dakota...An Economy that works". The book features some wonderful programs and steps that the state has taken to try and make it a great place for businesses to come and do business. Some of the highlights of recent action include:
- A reduction in the Individual Income Tax rate to a range of 1.51% to 3.99%, making ND's per capita income tax collections among the lowest of the 43 states that levy an income tax.
- A reduction in the Corporate Income Tax rate to a range of 1.68% to 5.15%, again one of the most competitive in the country.
- Up to 5 years of Income tax exemption for primary sector businesses that either move to North Dakota or expand existing facilities in North Dakota.
- Income Tax credit for businesses that purchase machinery or equipment for the purposes of automating a manufacturing process in North Dakota.
- Expansion of Angel Fund Investment tax credits and Seed Capital Investment Credits to help promote investment and make venture capital available to businesses in North Dakota.
These highlights are just a few of the things that North Dakota is doing to continue the growth that it is experiencing and to make sure that it continues to outperform the rest of the country. North Dakota seems to work hard to make sure that they create a climate, or create policies that can help businesses of all types thrive and compete. I'm working on a presentation that I will upload in the near future onto my website (http://www.thomasbeadle.com) that will highlight some more incentives available for businesses in the state.