Guest Post: Does North Dakota Want To Be Known As The State That Taxes Water?

Clean water is a goal for many Americans.

Last month, I  alerted you to the introduction of a bill (HB 1398) that would create an entirely new tax on water used for industrial purposes.

Since that point, the bill has been heard in the House Natural Resources Committee, and the bill’s Republican prime sponsor (Rep. George Keiser of Bismarck) suggested that the bill be amended to apply to only water used by the oil industry.

The intrigue surrounding this bill has been something else.  In the now four legislative sessions that I have been observing and/or lobbying, never have I seen Republicans get up in committee and not only support a tax increase, but in this case, support inventing a tax on a renewable natural resource that has never been taxed before (and to the best of anyone’s knowledge, never been taxed in any state).

While many legislators, including one of those that sponsored the bill (Rep. Jim Schmidt) have said they didn’t really intend to create a tax, the fact remains that several legislators are promoting this bill as a serious policy initiative.  Furthermore, the practice of introducing legislation that is not intended to pass is a very dangerous practice since it could end up passing, even if by accident.

As a result, the North Dakota Watchdog Network has launched a radio ad calling on the legislature to rethink this idea of taxing water.

You can listen to the ad by clicking here.

While this bill continues to move through the legislature, and we try to figure out the real intent of this bill, it is important to remind legislators that someone is watching them – and raising taxes in North Dakota, when we have massive surpluses just does not make any sense.

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  • WOOF

    How can industrial fracking water be a renewable resource?
    The industry assures us the water and added fracking chemicals
    never contaminate the aquifer used for drinking water.

    Everybody pays for water one way or another.
    Some people get a bargain.

    • Thresherman

      “Everybody pays for water one way or another.
      Some people get a bargain.”

      Yep, water does cost whether it is from the city system or you pump it yourself, but that still doesn’t justify singling out someone to tax for it in addition to that.

  • camsaure

    Well, I guess the dems and the RINO’s have never came across a tax that they didn’t like. Of course they have to make the public think only everyone else will have to pay it.

  • Dallas

    Hey. lets give water to the oil boys for fracking. Then we don’t have to screw around issuing permits to ag producers so they can produce food. And, lets do it without making them pay for it. Hell, taxpayers paid for the water projects; No cost left to cover. Give them free water so they can party in OKC and Dallas, so the Koch brothers can continue to fund campaigns for idiots and bigots. Yep, I’ll bet the price of gas will plummet if your give ‘em water for free.
    They could even use the money they save in taxes so ol’ Scott Hennen could buy another radio station to promote’ the agenda’.