Coalition Letter to Members of the North Dakota House Finance & Taxation Committee, RE: SB 2217

Chair Headland, Vice Chair Hagert, and Members of the Committee,

The undersigned organizations write in opposition to Senate Bill 2217. This legislation would prohibit interchange fees on the sales tax portion of electronic payment transactions in North Dakota. The government would be interfering in the free market in an attempt to control who bears the burden of collecting and remitting sales tax – risking higher costs for North Dakotans in a time of out-of-control inflation.

The state has created a sales tax burden that affects multiple parties in a transaction. The electronic payments system has been developed to accommodate this to best serve consumers and businesses. Currently, that system accounts for the final, total cost of a transaction. It does not parse out local or state sales tax, the network only sees that total.

To attempt to accommodate SB 2217, the payment system would have to develop a new process to tabulate the local tax and state tax burden separately – at least doubling the number of transactions processed in North Dakota.

Under SB 2217, the government would insert itself into this functioning system and try to make one party bear the full burden of the tax the government has created by preventing payment processors from applying the usual interchange fee to the full amount of a transaction.

Like every government attempt to control the market, there will be unintended consequences. By drastically increasing the amount of transactions processed, forcing processors to create new systems, software, and even new equipment, costs for small businesses and consumers in North Dakota would rise. These added costs will be placed on the processing system, merchants will pass them down to consumers, and everyone will lose.

This is unjustified government interference in the market. If the sales tax burden is too high, and transaction costs are hurting North Dakota businesses, legislators can reduce the sales tax, or increase sales tax collection allowance.

The House, and your committee in particular, has prioritized achieving real relief for North Dakota taxpayers and small businesses. We applaud your leadership in protecting taxpayers, and growing the state’s economy, and urge you to reject SB 2217.


Grover Norquist President

Americans for Tax Reform

Pete Sepp President

National Taxpayers Union

Bette Grande President

Roughrider Policy Center

Heather R. Higgins CEO

Independent Women’s Voice

Adam Brandon President


Yaël Ossowski Deputy Director

Consumer Choice Center

Ryan Ellis President

Center for a Free Economy

Siri Terjesen Visiting Faculty Fellow

North Dakota State University

Steve Pociask President & CEO

American Consumer Institute

David Ridenour President

National Center for Public Policy Research

John Berlau Senior Fellow and Director of Finance Policy

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Jerry Theodorou

Director, Finance, Insurance & Trade Program R Street Institute

Seton Motley President

Less Government

Phil Kerpen President

American Commitment

Daniel J. Mitchell President

Center for Freedom and Prosperity Americans for Prosperity North Dakota