Why Are North Dakota Republicans Proposing A Tax On Water?


For years, Republicans have complained and called for reform of the state’s 11.5% Gross Production and Extraction Tax on oil production in the state. In the last few years, large scale efforts to “Fix the Tax” have been launched.

The oil tax is what has created North Dakota massive influx of cash, and created the state’s $1.6 billion projected budget surplus.

Apparently some legislators, who happen to be Republican, believe that North Dakota needs new taxes and have introduced House Bill 1398.

House Bill 1398, sponsored by Rep. George Keiser (R-Bismarck), Rep. Curtiss Kruen (R-Grand Forks) and Rep. Jim Schmidt (R-Rural Mandan), would levy a 11.5% Gross Extraction Tax on “water from an aquifer below the earth’s surface extracted for an industrial use.”

The “industrial uses” being targeted here are obviously related to the water needed to “frack” oil wells in the Bakken.

Read the bill here.

There are several *possible* motives behind this which are not completely clear yet.

1. This could be an attempt to raise funds to later reduce the oil tax.

2. This could be an attempt to make it more difficult for private industry to compete with the state-backed water project in western North Dakota.

3. Or, it could be a straight-up money grab.

Whatever the motives, one thing is clear, North Dakota does not need this revenue.

This is the type of legislation North Dakotans should fear from the Federal Government, not from their own state representatives – let alone Republicans.

Please take the time to contact your legislators and tell them No New Taxes in North Dakota by clicking here.

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  • Roy_Bean

    With a $1.6 billion surplus why would we need to replace any taxes to reduce the oil extraction tax? This is just another effort to tax the rich and shift more of the funding to the area with “too much money”. Obama has turned us all into socialists.

  • Lianne

    Why do we have to keep hammering their heads with NO NEW TAXES?

  • WOOF

    Whose water is it ?

    You can’t drink oil.

    • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

      You can sell the oil and buy all the water you will ever need.

      • WOOF

        It ain’t your oil to sell and Evian is an expensive shower.

        • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

          I’m a member of the ND collective, so of course it’s my oil, along with my money in the state bank and my flour in the state mill.

  • NDConservative2011

    Doggone it, Representatives Keiser, Kruen and Schmidt completely forgot about another taxable item which would generate millions if not billions of dollars from everyone. Why tax just the corporations and businesses that are returning billions of dollars into the general fund, special funds, and very special funds.
    I’m talking about oxygen – that’s right, just plan air. Just think about the possibilities. Just think about the amount of the dollars that would roll into our general fund. The amount would be staggering as well as mind boggling.
    I’m trying to wrap my mind around how much revenue the state would then have to spend on Higher Education, K-12 Education, and the Rep. Kruen’s favorite – “Infrastructure”.
    I’m thinking that another 2 or 3 billion each for NDSU and UND would go a long way in satisfying their lust for more spending, more buildings and more+more+more+more of everything that their little old hearts may desire. The Chancellor would be able to fund the 130 extra full time employees that he covets. The possibilities are endless.
    Now that I have posted with tongue in cheek, let’s get serious. One must wonder if these brilliant ideas such as water taxation comes to these sponsors during their nightly visits to the alcohol supplied socials that they attend at the end of the day.
    It seems that these three Republicans have forgotten which side of the isle they are supposed to be on. Has someone taken the opportunity to check out their seating locations in the Legislative Hall. Are they sitting next to Rep. Mock, Zaiser or Glassheim, and if not, it would appear so. Maybe I will have to contact Rob Port to garner his expertise regarding open records laws, and get my hands on the emails that must have been passed back and forth between these six members of the legislature. There just cannot be any way possible that these three Republicans came up with a taxation idea such as a water tax on their very own! !
    But wait a minute, knowing these three liberal Republicans I believe that this may be entirely the case afterall, for these three think that they are a lot smarter then the average Democrat, and for that matter, the average citizen too.
    To utilize a movie quote “Stupid is as Stupid does” which seems to fit this ridiculous legislation. When you think you have heard of most everything, something like a water tax comes down the road. Oh No, did I say road? Now Rep. Kruen will have another infrastructure spending idea.

    • Lianne

      I hope you sent this to each and everyone of the legislators you mentioned.

    • ec99

      Kruen sat four chairs down from Glasheim on the GFCC. I always felt his support of boondoggles was partially due to Glasheim’s influence and partially to Gershman.

  • Harlan Goerger

    Sent to legislators today….
    Regarding HB 1398
    Water Extraction Tax
    As a citizen of North Dakota I feel this tax has no validity and there are many unintended possibilities that indicate a NO vote on this bill.
    This seems to be another way to extract tax from our friends in the oil business which have created much of the States wealth. Punishing your partners tends to cause them to leave.
    I also have a problem with language. The word Industrial is used as the defining line as to who is taxed and what water is taxed. Too often this is expanded to include others such as farmers, ranchers, small business and other entities that suddenly become “industrial”. It will include the majority of business in some way that are not in the oil business, as they are classified as “industrial”.
    I’ll assume our small business owners, be they restaurants, small manufactures or producers would potentially be included under “Industrial” headings. After all, once you have money flowing, why not include everyone in the tax, be equal in your opportunity.
    I realize the supports of the bill are from the western area of the state, and can appreciate their view. Yet, this does nothing, in my opinion, to help develop the economy of the state, rather it will be a barrier to the state!
    With such a surplus why are we talking about eliminating property and income tax and then turning around and taxing the very source of our wealth, our businesses?

    Please vote no on HB 1398
    Harlan Goerger, District 16, West Fargo, ND

    • Clairvoyant

      Yes Harlan- I think you get it! Don’t be afraid to be brave and stand up to the Democratic and Republican nonsense that has been going on there. Don’t back down, please.

  • ec99

    Kruen’s a Republican? When he was on the GF city council he spent money like a Democrat.

  • cylde

    Many politicians check local voter registration rolls before seeking office because the only thing they care about is the power of political office and pick the most likely winning side.

  • Clairvoyant

    There is no “end game” difference between Democrats and Republicans. Party faithful types like to insist that their side of the turd is actually bronzed. Wake up folks!!!

  • camsaure

    I bet the Gov would have gladly signed on to this also. Damn RINOs.