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LETTER: GOP's oil-tax reform strongly benefits North Dakota

Democratic leaders and candidates across North Dakota maintain that during the 2015 legislative session, North Dakota Republicans gave "Big Oil" a tax break that's costing the state millions each month in revenue.

Democratic leaders and candidates across North Dakota maintain that during the 2015 legislative session, North Dakota Republicans gave "Big Oil" a tax break that's costing the state millions each month in revenue.

Here's an inconvenient truth: For 70 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 of last year. The 6.5 percent extraction tax would have gone to 0 percent, and our combined oil and gas taxes would be 5 percent.

That means we would be receiving half the oil tax dollars we currently are under the Republican bill, which that set the combined taxes at 10 percent.

More than $365 million more per year is coming into the North Dakota treasury as a direct result of Republican action.

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So, for Democrats to state that the Republican's tax cut is costing the state millions of dollars each month is bogus. It is just 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 wherever. In fact, the opposite is true: we are collecting twice as much in taxes from the oil companies than what the Democrats' inaction would have given us. Their spin is false.

David Rust

Tioga, N.D.

Rust, a Republican, represents District 2 in the North Dakota Senate.

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