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Golden Valley News
Beach, North Dakota
January 26, 2017     Golden Valley News
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January 26, 2017
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Z; t The student section takes part in a cheer on Jan. 20. (Photo by Jenae Orluck) Just rolling with it ... called 'The Roller Coaster' during the Beach boys Buccaneers' game with Killdeer 1 in By MIKE JACOBS N.D. Newspaper Association BISMARCK - The state budget is the centerpiece of every legislative session, and this session the process is more complicated than usual. There are two sets of budget bills reflecting different budget assump- tions, and there are two additional caused consternation recently. 4. Budget suggestions that origi- budget frameworks, one each from the new governor and one from the -nate in the governor's office are im- portant but they are purely advisory. legislative leadership. It's a little bewildering. Here are some points to keep in mind as budget building proceeds at the North Dakota Legislature. , 1. Budget work continues throughout the session. ' 2. Draft budgets are interesting, ibut pretty nearly meaningless. At last four of these have been floated in this session; a couple have already sunk. 3. Budgets depend as much on evenue forecasts as on spending as- '.sumptions. Republican leaders in the Legislature have a much leaner fore- '.cast than either Gov. Jack Dalrymple, hose projected budget is the guide- Jine most often cited, or Gov. Doug 3urgum, whose calls for more cuts Draft budgets are interesting, but pretty nearly meaningless. At last four of these have been floated in this session; a couple have already sunk. also have influence on budget mat- ters. 6. There's not a whole lot of flex- ibility in the budget. Carlson has de- Legislators determine where money veloped a budget lesson that he likes will be spent, to share. "It's all about the three 5. Some legislators are more in- eights," he says. These are edu- flue.ntial than others when it comes to cATE, medicATE and incarcerATE. budgeting. Budgets are considered This is an exaggeration; jails really first in Appropriations committees in don't cost that much money. Public each house. The Senate committee safety takes less than 4 percent of the has 14 members, 11 Republicans and budget. Education at all levels takes three Democrats. In the House, the about 27 percent, and so does human committee has 22 members, 19 Re- services. Transportation is the other publicans and three Democrats. The big budget item, 23 percent. These committee chairs are especially in- figures represent overall spending. fluential. In the Senate, that's Ray 7. Spending from the state general Holmberg of Grand Forks; in the fund gets more attention than other House, it's Jeff Delzer of Under- spending. The general fund is made wood. Republican leaders, A1 Carl- up largely of taxes paid directly by son of Fargo in the House, and Rich North Dakota citizens and busi- Wardner of Dickinson in the Senate, nesses. General fund spending amounts to 42.4 percent of the total budget. Funds from the federal gov- ernment make up 25.6 percent of the total budget. Spending from special funds - much of it for transportation, amounts to 31.9 percent. These figures are from the budget developed by former Gov. Jack Dal- rymple, which serves as a guideline for budget discussions. It is by far the most detailed of budget proposals so far advanced, and will almost cer- tainly remain that until the final budget is approved. 8. You can't spend money you don't have, as Carlson is frequently heard to say. 9. The state has sources of money that might be tapped. The Dalrymple budget taps the Legacy Fund, for ex- ample. This was built from taxes on oil and gas production. There's also a foundation aid stabilization fund that likely will be used to meet public school expenses - but probably not to ease budget woes in higher educa- tion. 10. Don't expect any of this to be finalized until the end of the session. Budget work is last-minute work. mm nl BISMARCK - North Dakota;s state individual income tax filing season opened Jan. 23, coinciding with the Internal Revenue Ser- vice's filing season opening. Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said the office is expecting another substantial tax season. For the 2016 tax season there were more than 509,000 indi- vidual income taxpayers who filed in North Dakota. Approximately 85 percent of those taxpayers e- filed. "We are still encouraging tax- payers to e-file as it is the fastest and most secure way to file," Rauschenberger said. "A majority of North Dakotans are actually eli- gible to e-file their taxes for free, depending on income and age." Rauschenberger explained that by answering a few questions on- line using the "ND Free File" tool, taxpayers can see if they qualify to file their federal and state returns for free with certain tax software companies. Taxpayers may also e- file by purchasing tax preparation software, by working with a tax professional, or by using the Office of State Tax Commissioner's stand-alone free "ND Fillable Forms" option, which is for ND re- turns only. This filing season North Dakota is requesting driver's license or "We are still en- couraging taxpay- ers to e-file as it is the fastest and most secure way to file. A majority of North Dakotans are actu- ally eligible to e-file their taxes for free, depending on in- come and age." Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger payers that refunds will likely take longer to process again this year. Taxpayers may use the "Where's My Refund?" tool found at to track their refunds. This tool includes a refund tracker, as well as informa- tion for the taxpayer on the status of their return. Taxpayers may also sign "up to receive e-mail or text alerts when their refund is issued. Information on the "Where's My Refund?" tool is updated daily. North Dakota tax booklets and forms may be found on the Office state-issued identification card in- of State Tax Commissioner's web- ,JL~ forna letect onicaffly filed site at wwwlnd gov]tax-/forms-JBe tax returns. This is an additional ef- ginning this year, the North Dakota fort to fight stolen-identity tax Office of State Tax Commissioner fraud and to protect taxpayers and will no longer be printing and mail- their tax refunds. ing tax booklets or forms. IRS "We remind taxpayers to file forms . may be found at early to help prevent tax refund fraud." Rauschenberger said. "AI- or by calling 1-800- TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). though fraud was down last year, it The due date to file and pay is not a sign that we can be less 2016 individualincome tax returns diligent in working to combat it. It is Tuesday, April 18, this year be- means that what we are doing is cause April 15 falls on a Saturday, having an impact, and we need to and the following Monday, April continue our efforts." 17, falls on Emancipation Day - a Because of fraud prevention el- legal holiday that is observed in the forts, Rauschenberger reminds tax- District of Columbia. The Theodore Roosevelt Presi- Theodore Roosevelt Presidential dential Library Foundation Library means to them and what (TRPLF) will hold a community they would like to see there," said forum from 6-7:30 p.m.,Thursday, TRPLF Roosevelt scholar Clay Jan. 26, at the Medora Community Jenkinson, who will lead the Center Roosevelt Room in Medora. forum. This is one of a number of fo- This event is free of charge and rums that will take place in com- open to the public. Refreshments munities throughout the region will be served. The Medora Com- over the next several months. Their munity Center is located at 465 Pa- purpose is to provide updates on cific Ave. in Medora. the project and gather ideas from The TRPLF is an independent community members, not-for-profit organization that was "We want to have a conversa-formed in 2014 with the purpose of tion with the people of western building the Theodore Roosevelt North Dakota about what the Presidential Library in Dickinson. in More than 8.8 million Ameri- Open Enrollment for 2017 cov- or Cuidadode- find plans with a premium for less For 2017, con- information and compare your op- cans were signed up for 2017 cov- erage through the Health Insurance S to review their coverage than $75 per month, sumers in North Dakota could save tions for 2017. erage through as Marketplace began Nov. 1, 2016, options, learn about what financial Nationwide, about 8 out of 10 an average of $300 annually in pre- Free, confidential help can be of Jan. 14, 2017, including 21,192 and runs through Jan. 31, 2017. assistance is available, or to sign people who enroll in health cover- miums for a plan in the same level found in perstm or by phone at 1- in North Dakota. Consumers who enroll by Jan. 31 up or re-enroll in a plan that best age through qual- of coverage by returning to shop. 800-318-2596 for confidential as- This compares to about 8.7 mil- willhave coverage effective March meets their needs, ify for financial help to make their If you had coverage through sistance 24/7, in English or lion signups nationally as of Jan. 1. About 71 percent of North monthly premiums more afford- for 2016, you Spanish, or at visit 14 last year. North Dakotans should visit Dakota Marketplace enrollees can able. should come back to update your and Today there's a 50% a person could live to age 94. With today's longer life spans, saving for retirement is more important than ever. For years, we've been helping people save for retirement. Let us show you the benefits of an FDIC Insured Individual Retirement Account. Our IRAs are FDIC insured to $250,000. The earlier you begin saving, the more money you'll have when you retire. First State Bank Golva Medora Beach 872-3656 623-5000 872-4444 Member FDIC ATM in Beach & Medora lobby 1,