Election Briefs

Tax commissioner challenger floats tax breaks for military

FARGO — The Democratic challenger for North Dakota tax commissioner is proposing an income tax break for all active-duty and retired military service members in the state.

Astrup calls it his “Saluting Their Service Tax Cut” proposal, which would provide an income tax exclusion for any portion of benefits and pay that are taxable on an active-duty military service member’s federal tax return.

It would cost the state about $1.8 million annually to exclude retirement benefits from taxation, and about $1.9 million annually to exclude the pay of active-duty service members.


Challenger Sinner outraises Rep. Cramer in latest quarter

WASHINGTON – The Democratic challenger for North Dakota’s lone U.S. House of Representatives seat outraised Republican incumbent Rep. Kevin Cramer in the last quarter.

State Sen. George Sinner raised nearly $350,000 from April 1 to June 30 while Cramer raised about $236,000, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Sinner also spent more in the three-month period, with expenditures totaling $109,160, while Cramer spent $86,852 from April through June.

Cramer brought in significantly more campaign cash in the first quarter, raising $270,000 from January through March. Sinner raised about $33,000 in the same time period, but he had only joined the race in mid-March.

Cramer’s total cash on hand was at about $653,000 by the end of June, and he started the year with about $293,000 on hand.

Sinner’s cash on hand by the end of June was at about $274,000.


Democratic challengers to PSC accuse Republicans of ‘governing by emergency’

FARGO – Two Democratic challengers vying for seats on the state’s Public Service Commission are accusing the Republican incumbents of “governing by emergency” and of failing to lead when it comes to rail access and safety.

Sen. Tyler Axness, D-Fargo, and Todd Reisenauer were in Fargo on Tuesday promoting their RAILS Plan, or Railroad Access and Increased Line Safety, which they say would improve rail infrastructure, require railroads to submit commodity data to the state and create a state rail inspection program.

The two Democrats said incumbents Brian Kalk and Julie Fedorchak, both Republicans, lacked leadership, both before and after December’s fiery oil train derailment and explosion near Casselton.

“Try as they might, they cannot hide from the fact that the current commissioners were in office when that crude trail struck a derailed grain train and exploded near Casselton, causing prolonged fear in our communities across the state of North Dakota,” Axness said, “while 30 other states showed leadership to act and create a rail inspection program before an incident occurred.”

Axness, who represents District 16 in the state Senate, is running against Fedorchak for a special two-year term on the commission. Reisenauer, a Fargo-based independent business consultant, is campaigning against Kalk for a normal six-year term.



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