Bill to Cut Oil Taxes | VideoJennifer Joas | 2/5/2013
It is no longer a secret what hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling can do for an oil or gas formation. And some North Dakota legislators worry about keeping business if another big oil play pops up somewhere else in the country.
"We have no idea what the future is. And that is why it is very important in my mind that we bring forth a bill that helps us get closer to predicting what that future is and bring some stability to the industry," said Senator Dwight Cook (R) from Mandan.
The bill Senator Cook is proposing would decrease the oil extraction tax by two percent in 2017. Cook says over the first five years of the tax break, the state will lose close to $600 million in revenue. And that is concerning some state interest groups.
"No one can say for sure what the decrease will be. But, it is a decrease. And we have finally hit that 70% of education funding. And in order to do that for future generations, it is a hefty cost," said Kayla Pulvermacher with the ND Education Association.
Others say it is difficult to compete with the high wages out west. And taking care of those needs should be more of a priority.
"Our concern is, if you have got an extra $600 million sitting around, why aren`t we paying people to fill those positions. Why aren`t we making those positions more competitive," said Stuart Savelkoul with the ND Public Employees Association.
The one part of the bill everyone can agree on is eliminating the stripper well criteria for future Bakken and Three Forks wells, which gives a tax break to wells producing very little oil.
Proponents of the bill say it would be a tax decrease, but the state would make up $84-million dollars with the elimination of stripper wells during the next biennium.