Archive for the ‘North Dakota’ Category

If You Were Paid for Protesting in North Dakota…

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

There’s been a political firestorm over oil pipeline construction in the United States. That’s been the case with the Dakota Access Pipeline construction in North Dakota. I’ll ignore the politics of whether or not the pipeline should be built. (If you’re interested, you can find plenty of literature on that subject.) I’ll stick to taxes, thank you.

But one thing that is true regarding the Dakota Access pipeline protests: Paid protesters were brought in. Ryan Rauschenberger read about those paid protesters and had a thought: Shouldn’t those paid protesters be paying state income tax to North Dakota? After all, the protests were in North Dakota, the work was conducted in North Dakota, and there’s definite nexus to the state. Mr. Rauschenberger is more able than others to make sure that those taxes flow to the Peace Garden State; he’s the Tax Commissioner of the state.

The Washington Times interviewed Mr. Rauschenberger:

“If an organization is directly paying someone to come and do activities on their behalf, even protesting — if they’re receiving income and they’re here in North Dakota performing activities for an organization, they owe income tax from Day One,” Mr. Rauschenberger said. “And that entity should be issuing 1099s. Just like a contractor…

“I think a lot of people think that, ‘Oh, if something goes through GoFundMe, it’s just always considered a gift.’ But it can also be used as a way to funnel money just like an employer paying a contractor,” Mr. Rauschenberger said. “It can be a way to funnel money as well, and very well could be taxable. I’m not saying it is. I’m saying it could be. And it’s really on a case-by-case basis.”

It’s not likely that the North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner will go after individual protesters (unless they receive a W-2 or 1099 and don’t file); the office has a staff of only 128. However, it’s far more likely the state will go after organizations that paid for protesters; the state will get more bang for the buck there. So if you were paying protesters in North Dakota, make sure you file those 1099s and send a copy to Bismarck.

State Financial Health: Alaska, Dakotas on Top, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut on the Bottom

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University released a study today ranking the 50 states on their financial health. Here are the top six states:

1. Alaska (8.26)
2. North Dakota (2.97)
3. South Dakota (2.84)
4. Nebraska (2.75)
5. Florida (2.74)
6. Wyoming (2.67)

These six states have “Fiscal Condition Index” scores that are significantly higher than all the other states. Of course, where there’s good there’s also bad; here are the bottom seven states:

50. Illinois (-1.86)
49. New Jersey (-1.86)
48. Massachusetts (-1.84)
47. Connecticut (-1.83)
46. New York (-1.49)
45. Kentucky (-1.42)
44. California (-1.41)

Why are states ranked low?

High deficits and debt obligations in the forms of unfunded pensions and health care benefits continue to drive each state into fiscal peril. Each holds tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities—constituting a significant risk to taxpayers in both the short and the long term.

Think unfunded pensions and you have one of the huge issues facing states. Illinois leads the way (which isn’t a good thing for the Land of Lincoln). There’s a reality: Whatever you make, spend less. Some states follow that creed; others give it lip service. California may have a “surplus,” but when you look at unfunded pensions things don’t look so good. Sooner or later, that bill will come due.

It’s an interesting analysis, and well worth your perusal.