Halfway Through the Session | VideoJessica Roose | 3/1/2013
They`ve talked about abortion. They`ve discussed property taxes. And how to address the needs out west. Lawmakers will be the first to admit that some bills aren`t perfect, but they hope changes will be made in the next half.
"We`ve missed a chance to cut property taxes. Last week we had a floor amendment that would have cut $250 million in property taxes. A 12.5 percent reduction. Unfortunately, that was rejected for deeper corporate tax cuts and personal income tax cuts," said Senator Mac Schneider (D) from Grand Forks.
Republicans say those cuts will fuel the economy, not harm it.
"It`s the corporations, the businesses, that hire people and put people to work. We feel that jobs are the important thing. If we want to improve the quality of life in this state, people need jobs," said Senator Rich Wardner (R) from Dickinson.
Another topic sure to continue to be debated in crossover is how to solve the childcare crisis in the state.
"There`s one leader in the field of daycare who said we`re actually beyond crisis when it comes to access to childcare for parents and kids. So that is something that absolutely must be addressed. It doesn`t matter how good our economy is if we don`t have people to take care of our kids," Schneider said.
Republicans say the issue, along with others, should be addressed while keeping in mind that the funding needs to be something that can be sustained if the oil boom comes to an end.
"Now we have these programs in place and we can`t fund them. So what does that mean? Then we try to go to the taxpayers and raise their taxes. Now that`s exactly what the federal government is doing. We do not want to get caught in that trap," Wardner said.
Lawmakers will have the remaining time in the session to discuss bills that have already passed one chamber and make any changes they deem appropriate.
They will dive straight back into the work when they get back to the Capitol City on Wednesday.