Tribal taxation bill working its way through the Legislature

Feb 6, 2019

MHA Nation chairman Mark Fox at a Bismarck news conference.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Senate Finance and Taxation Committee will be considering a bill to change the way oil and gas tax revenue is shared between the state and the Three Affiliated Tribes at Fort Berthold from production on trust and fee lands on the reservation.

Right now, it’s split 50-50. The bill changes that, so that 80 percent of the tax from trust lands would go to the tribes, with 20 percent to the state. And on fee lands, it will be 20 percent to the tribe, 80 percent to the state.

"This agreement is critical for creating a stable tax and regulatory environment across both tribal and non-tribal lands," said Gov. Doug Burgum at a Bismarck news conference.

Burgum chaired an interim Legislative committee that worked out the deal. He told reporters one reason this is important is because of competition with other shale plays in the US.

"There's an opportunity for the Bakken, and us collectively, to gain market share, in terms of attracting capital and talent back to North Dakota," Burgum said. "When we work together, we become a better competitor, a better host."

MHA Nation Tribal Chairman Mark Fox said the agreement has been in the works for at least four years. He said the tribal economy has always been intertwined with the state’s economy – and that has grown over the past 10 years or so with energy development.

"Now, we have an opportunity to strengthen and enhance that, for both economies to continue to grow," Fox said.

The bill has the support of both parties’ floor leaders.