More Money Proposed for the Patch | VideoJennifer Joas | 1/17/2013
Constant truck traffic, overcrowded schools, lack of law enforcement, the needs are great in western North Dakota. And Democrats think they have a plan to address those needs.
"We are behind the curve in terms of the percentage that we allow to stay at that local level. We are saying, do not increase spending, do not increase taxes, just make sure that more of that revenue that is generated in the oil patch, stays there to address oil patch needs," said Grand Forks Senator Mac Schneider (D).
The state collects taxes on oil production and keeps about 70 to 80 percent of that. This bill would almost reverse it, allowing the local entities to keep 80 percent of the tax revenue.
"We have a moral obligation to stand by those communities that have literally paid the price for our oil development. We have a large budget surplus, but that budget surplus has not come for free," Schneider said.
Other legislators who live in western North Dakota say 80 percent is not realistic.
"There is no question in my mind, we could use every dime of that," said Bowman Senator Bill Bowman (R). "But you have got to remember we are dealing with the whole state and they all have road issues. And we have to be aware of the whole state than just ourselves."
If passed, the 80 percent allocation would only last two years. Democrats say this would not impact any current budget initiatives. Other oil producing states such as Montana, Wyoming and Colorado already give a bigger chunk back to the local entities.