Maybe North Dakota Wouldn’t Need Subsidized Child Care If Tax Burdens Were Lower


That’s the point Chris Berg makes during his online show for Valley News Live today:

Berg refers to a survey done by Obama-appointed USDA Rural Development Director Jasper Schneider (who is busy milking his federal patronage job for political gain later in his career) showing that North Dakotans want the state’s surplus spent a) on infrastructure and b) on subsidizing child care services.

Note that Governor Jack Dalrymple recently announced government efforts to promote child care services in western North Dakota.

Setting aside for a moment that this survey is hardly scientific (respondents could only select from pre-determined, multiple-choice answers), Berg makes a great point about the demand for child care services. Noting that 85% of families with pre-school aged children have both parents working, Berg wonders if maybe that wouldn’t be the case if tax burdens were lower.

It clashes mightily with narratives popularly promoted by the state’s political leadership and mainstream media, but the simple truth is that North Dakota isn’t really a low tax burden state. That’s the conclusion of the Tax Foundation, which calculates tax burdens on a per-capita basis, but if you controlled for the fact that wages tend to be lower in North Dakota as well you would see that the problem is even worse.

Here’s the bottom line: The state of North Dakota has billions in surpluses and reserves. Meanwhile, North Dakota families have to send both parents off to work and are clamoring for child care services.

There’s something wrong with that picture. The state needs lower taxes and less government.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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