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North Dakota Tax Commissioner kicks off re-election campaign

  North Dakota Tax Commissioner Cory Fong kicked off his 2010 re-election campaign March 11, with a morning announcement in West Fargo.

Fong cited his desire to continue building upon tax relief, efficient tax administration and expansion of electronic filing options for North Dakotans. All three of these areas have been enhanced since Fong took office in 2005.

Tax relief has been Fong's primary focus during his first term, and the area in which he says he has best served North Dakotans.

"Since I've been Tax Commissioner, we've delivered a total of one-half billion dollars in tax relief to citizens of North Dakota," he said.

According to Fong, the tax relief means about $1,200 in property tax savings for the average farmer and rancher, and approximately $1,800 in property tax savings for the average small business. For the average family earning between $60,000 and $80,000 with a $150,000 home, it means a savings of between $600 and $700 in property and income taxes.

Another priority area for Fong during his first term as Tax Commissioner has been tax administration. Changes to the department's processes have allowed the tax department to more effectively and efficiently serve the people of North Dakota.

Fong highlighted the department's successful on-time and under-budget completion of an integrated tax system project in 2007, which resulted in $2.8 million savings.

This is "unheard of in large-scale IT projects," he said. "This project has already resulted in a revenue enhancement to the state of nearly $10 million. Not only is the new system helping us manage tax collections more efficiently and effectively, it's also paying for itself."

This same focus on process and responsible fiscal management allowed the Tax Department to return nearly $2 million to the General Fund during his term.

A third area of success during Fong's tenure has been a simplification of North Dakota's tax system and the expansion of electronic filing options for North Dakota taxpayers. Both are items Fong said "make it even easier for our taxpayers and businesses to comply with the law."

During the 2009 filing season alone, nearly 65 percent - more than 222,000 individual income tax returns - were filed electronically. This represents two-thirds of North Dakota's total individual income tax filers and a 50 percent increase in E-file during Fong's tenure.

Fong was elected the Tax Commissioner in North Dakota's 2006 statewide election, after being appointed to the position in 2005. Fong is dedicated to promoting a tax structure and business climate in North Dakota that allows businesses and industries to grow and prosper.

His prior experience includes serving as the Director of Elections and Deputy Secretary of State, both with the North Dakota Office of Secretary of State; Deputy Director of the North Dakota Republican Party; Director of Governor John Hoeven's 2004 re-election campaign; and Deputy Commissioner of the North Dakota Dept. of Commerce.

Fong is a graduate of Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash., with a Bachelor's degree in political science and speech communications. He's lived in Bismarck since 1994, with his wife Cecily, and son Conrad.