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Wardner and Carlson: The truth about oil taxes, property taxes and spec

The North Dakota Democrats have begun their fall campaign in earnest and, as expected, they and their legislative leadership are using the same old tired attacks to compensate for their lack of original ideas and solutions.

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The North Dakota Democrats have begun their fall campaign in earnest and, as expected, they and their legislative leadership are using the same old tired attacks to compensate for their lack of original ideas and solutions.

The biggest lie you will hear in the coming months is that Republicans cut the oil tax, but it is just not true.

Last session, the Republican-led Legislature eliminated a 1980s-era automatic oil tax cut, which would have been triggered by today's low crude oil prices. Without the passage of these reforms, the current oil tax would have been cut from 11.5 percent to just 5 percent.

This change resulted in an increase of $360 million dollars a year in state oil tax revenue. Those increased state tax revenues helped pay for schools, human services, water projects, property tax relief and so much more.

In exchange for doing away with this massive low price tax break for oil companies, we implemented a two-tiered tax system. If prices are below $90 per barrel, oil will now be taxed at 10 percent. If prices rise above $90 per barrel, oil will be taxed at 11%. Of course, the Democrats only talk about the slight reduction in the overall rate and conveniently fail to mention the $360 million annual increase the Republican oil tax bill also included.

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The misleading campaign being waged by the Democrats doesn't end with oil taxes.

Democrats would also like you to believe that state-funded property tax relief is at risk, but Republicans have made reducing and reforming property taxes a priority. In the last biennium alone, we provided more than $1.1 billion in property tax relief. We also passed the first major reform in a generation including consolidating mils and putting limits on some types of property taxes.

The one thing both parties agree on is that, with reduced state tax revenue, we need to responsibly reduce spending and balance the budget. In the upcoming special session and next year's regular session, Republicans will focus on funding education, property tax relief, public safety, critical infrastructure like flood protection, and social services for seniors and our most vulnerable citizens. The difference is that Republicans will fund our priorities and balance the budget without raising taxes.

Remember, Democrats like Sen. Mac Schneider and Rep. Kenton Onstad are also the party of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They endorse candidates who are on course to destroy our country and our state as we know it with their war on fossil fuels, reckless immigration policies, the Waters of the U.S. regulations and the not-so Affordable Care Act.

There is no question that North Dakota voters will have a clear choice this November.

The Democrats will be championing higher taxes and more spending. Conversely, Republicans will be focused on diversifying our economy and smartly reducing government spending.

History has taught us the Republican principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual rights and the rule of law have been, and will continue to be, the backbone of a successful North Dakota.

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Related Topics: RICH WARDNER
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