It’s Up and Down, where we give a quick nudge or thumbs up on the issues of the past week.
A state income tax credit approved by the Legislature last fall is providing much-needed relief to North Dakotans this tax season. An estimated 300,000 North Dakotans will not have a state income tax bill and another 200,000 will see a reduction. Legislation backed by Gov. Doug Burgum used part of the state’s $1.1 billion closure fund balance over the last two-year budget cycle to provide tax relief to residents. The legislation provides a credit of up to $350 for individuals and up to $700 for those filing jointly. It amounts to approximately $211 million in income tax relief over the next two years. It’s a particularly welcome break now that residents are dealing with inflation and rising gas prices.
Federal regulators have banned chlorpyrifos, a pesticide widely used on food crops, citing research linking it to potential brain damage in children and fetuses. Sounds wise. But the Environmental Protection Agency appears to have shifted responsibility for disposing of remaining stockpiles of the chemical to states, which might not have been the smartest move. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said states don’t have the resources to address the problem. And for now, that leaves few options for farmers and distributors who still have the pesticide on hand. State Environmental Quality Director Dave Glatt said that if there are no options for safe disposal, there is always a risk of chemicals being dumped illegally. State officials are urging the EPA to find a solution.
Mason Archambault has not forgotten where he comes from. The Standing Rock Sioux tribesman excels as a guard for the University of South Dakota basketball team. And he doesn’t let notoriety get to his head – he uses it for a greater good. He strives to be an advocate for other Native Americans who pursue their dreams in athletics and education. His advice to others is “keep fighting for your dream and you will get there one day”. Head coach Todd Lee says Archambault is proud of where he comes from, and Lee calls him a “special kid.”
Chronic wasting disease in deer in western North Dakota has increased dramatically in recent years. During the 10-year period from 2009 to 2018, there were 14 documented cases. In the past three years, there have been 56. The disease hasn’t reached a point where it’s impacting deer population levels, and state wildlife officials hope that will remain. so. But it won’t be easy – CWD infection rates have increased in some other states where the disease has been around longer. Eight hunting units in North Dakota have now confirmed cases of chronic wasting disease, and wildlife officials believe it’s likely the disease will continue to progress. How fast is the question. The state has mitigation measures in place and authorities are exploring other ways to stem the tide.
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