Oil Tax Bill Fails | VideoJennifer Joas | 3/21/2013
The division between Democrats and Republicans became very clear when Senate Bill 2336 was first introduced. But after months of the two sides battling it out, the bill failed without much of a fight.
"Yeah, it did seem easy but, you know it is a process. And you can start early and say we disagree with what is happening here," said Rep. Kenton Onstad, (D) Parshall.
Both sides did agree on fixing the loopholes in the current tax structure, which include tax exemptions if the price of oil were to significantly drop or if oil wells produce little oil.
"There is some areas that really need to be changed and I agree there is a lot of bad policy. But to turn around and look at what our future needs are for the state, and then try and reduce that, it seemed ill advised at this time," said Onstad.
Supporters of the bill were disappointed, and they say this piece of legislation needed to pass to protect against an oil bust.
"Everybody is pretty confident that this industry is just going to flourish. And they are willing to pass legislation passed on a booming industry. I am familiar with how this booming industry can bust and I would like to have something in there in case it busts that protects our revenue," said Sen. Dwight Cook, (R) Mandan.
Ultimately, the House Finance and Taxation Committee could not come to a consensus on fixing all of the tax issues, and recommended a do not pass. The vice chairman of the committee says he agrees the state needs a more stable tax structure and he intends to continue working to find a solution.
The bill failed in the House, 87 to 6. There is another bill in the legislature that also looks to adjust the stripper well formula.