ND Legislator: Tax Break For Oil Industry Will Be “Tough Sell” To Citizens Paying “$3.20 Gallon”
Those were the words of Senate Majority Leader Bob Stenehjem today to Scott Hennen, talking about a plea from the state’s oil industry for a reduction in the state’s complicated and third-highest-in-the-nation oil extraction tax:
Oil revenue is a key part of the state’s financial health Stenehjem says that the current idea of simplifying the excise tax will be a difficult for North Dakotans to understand “If the bottom line is that we are just going to give tax breaks to the oil industry it will be a tough sell. If it looks like you are balancing that with incentives that is better but if it is just tax breaks that will be a really tough sell when citizens are paying $3.20 per gallon.”
I get the feeling that Senator Stenehjem is attempting to play a bit of class warfare with gas prices here in order to fight back against a push for tax relief in the upcoming session. We all know that North Dakota’s legislators are a bunch of tax-and-spenders who, despite billion dollar surpluses, still can’t find the gumption to give the state’s citizens and businesses any truly meaningful tax relief. It seems as though Stenehjem doesn’t want tax relief, so is trying to make voters angry by tying local gas prices to the state’s taxes on oil extraction.
In other words, the sort of tactic one would expect from a liberal Democrat not a Republican.
The truth is that the state oil extraction tax has little to do with the state’s gas prices. And even if it did, lower taxes on oil development and refining can only serve to lower gas prices. Most of what you pay for a gallon of gas at the filling station goes to the government by way of all the various taxes paid on getting that oil out of the ground, refined into gasoline and to the pumps to be sold to you.
Want cheaper gas? Cut taxes.
By the way, it is absolutely shameful the way our Republican-dominated state government seems completely unwilling to consider tax relief. It seems as though the path they’re plotting is to continue massive spending increases until tax revenues dry up, at which point they’ll no doubt want to raise taxes to maintain expanded government.Tags: bob stenehjem, North Dakota News, oil, Taxes