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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Cory Fong, Tax Commissioner, 701-328-2770
Tuesday, August 29, 2006  


BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong announced today a proposal to stimulate workforce development through recruitment and internship incentives and an expansion of the current research and development tax credit.

“Businesses are in the best position to know and understand their recruitment and workforce needs,” said Fong. “This proposal is designed to empower businesses to be more aggressive and targeted in their recruitment efforts.”

Citing statistics from the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Fong discussed job growth and challenges in workforce development such as the declining number of job entrants, worker shortages, and skill gaps. Currently North Dakota is experiencing worker and skill shortages in ten areas described as “hard-to-fill.” Some of those areas include certain health care, teaching, and computer-related positions, skilled trades (such as electricians, carpenters, and heating and air conditioning technicians), engineering, manufacturing, and oil field and energy related occupations. The proposal includes tax credits for businesses to offset some of the costs associated with recruiting for “hard-to-fill” positions. Those costs include items such as moving expenses and signing bonuses.

The proposal also offers tax credits for providing internship opportunities to college students and for internships that lead to permanent employment.

“Meaningful internships can act as the bridge from a positive higher education experience directly into the work place,” said Fong.

Businesses that provide an internship to college students would be eligible for a tax credit based on the internship salary. A second tax credit would be available to businesses if a college intern becomes a permanent employee.

Fong’s proposal also includes expanding the current research and development tax credit.

“At a time when we are looking for ways to expand our state’s research capacity and the commercialization of research through programs like the Centers of Excellence Initiative, it is appropriate to encourage more companies to conduct research on and around our campuses,” said Fong. “Meaningful research opportunities, resulting in good paying career opportunities after graduation, will encourage young people to attend our colleges and stay right here in North Dakota.”

The expanded credit provides for an increase in the percentage of qualified research costs that businesses may recover. Expenditures made in certain rural areas may also be included.

“This proposal is about empowering businesses to address our state’s workforce needs, to encourage more research and development, and is aimed at keeping college graduates working right here in North Dakota,” said Fong. “Workforce development is an important issue and the Office of State Tax Commissioner is ready and willing to work with the legislative assembly as well as Job Service North Dakota and the Department of Commerce in crafting these tax credits.”

Fong will present the proposal to the Interim Economic Development Committee at its meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, August 30.

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