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Letter: An inconvenient truth for ND Democrats

Democratic leaders and candidates across the state maintain that during the last legislative session North Dakota Republicans gave "big oil" a tax break that is costing the state millions of dollars each month in revenue.

Here's an inconvenient truth! For seventy legislative days Democrats proposed no bills to raise or lower the taxes on oil and gas or to eliminate the triggers. They were very content to leave the taxes and triggers in place.

Had Republicans not changed the law, the triggers would have activated on Dec. 1, 2015, the 6.5 percent extraction tax would have gone to 0 percent, and our combined oil and gas taxes would be 5 percent.

We would be receiving half the oil tax dollars we currently are under the Republican bill that set the combined taxes at 10 percent. Over $365 million more per year is coming into the state treasury—the direct result of Republican action.

For Democrats to state the Republican's tax cut is costing the state millions of dollars each month is bogus. It just is not the truth. It's "spin doctoring" to get votes and doesn't reflect the reality that Republicans seized an opportunity to reform the tax code and eliminate the catastrophic effect of the triggers reducing the extraction tax to zero.

The truth of the matter is that no dollars are being sent to Oklahoma or Texas, or whereever. In fact, the opposite is true—we are collecting 5 percent more in taxes from oil companies than what the Democrat's inaction would have given us. Their spin is false!

Sen. David S. Rust,