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Politics & Government

Oil tax reform bill passes both chambers, on its way to Gov. Dalrymple

A change in North Dakota’s oil tax rate is heading to Governor Dalrymple for his signature.

The original bill would have lowered the tax from 11-and-a-half percent to nine-and-a-half percent. It would also remove the triggered tax breaks tied to oil prices. The House passed it that way. The Senate changed it, so the rate would be 10 percent. The Senate also added a “reverse trigger” – so that the tax would go to 11 percent if the oil price climbed above $90 a barrel. Now the House has gone along with the Senate’s changes.

House Republicans say the bill provides a more stable and predictable tax policy for the oil industry. Rep. Craig Headland (R-Montpelier)  says North Dakota has been losing drilling rigs – and many are going to other states.

"What are we going to do to make sure that we can compete with the other states and keep our production stable?" said Headland. "This is what we're doing with this bill."

House Democrats fought it – saying the state could lose billions of dollars in the long term. And they questioned this big a bill coming with just a few days left in the session.

"This is not the time at this point," said House Minority Leader Kenton Onstad (D-Parshall). "I think it's a freight train fueled on hype."

The measure passed 66 to 26.

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