N.D. House rejects oil tax restructuring bill

2013-03-21T00:15:00Z N.D. House rejects oil tax restructuring billBy NICK SMITH | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK, N.D. - With no debate, the North Dakota House shot down a bill that would have restructured oil taxes and dropped the exemption for “stripper” wells.

Senate Bill 2336 was defeated by an 87-6 vote in the House on Thursday — a sharp reversal from the Senate’s 34-13 vote in favor of the bill late last month.

Part of the bill would have cut the exemption for stripper wells that the state Tax Department says is costing North Dakota about $50 million in annual revenue. Both parties are critical of the exemption, but no legislation so far has not been aimed at that issue alone.

Sen. Dwight Cook, R-Mandan, who crafted the tax restructuring bill, told The Associated Press he’s disappointed the bill was killed because he was trying to bring tax certainty to the oil industry and the state.

Rep. Craig Headland, R-Montpelier, told lawmakers the House Finance and Taxation Committee had given it an 11-2 “do not pass” recommendation.

Democrats said the bill would have cost North Dakotans more than $1.3 billion in the first five years.

Other House action on Thursday:

  • The House amended an anti-abortion bill in an effort to kill a three-year, $1.2 million federal sex education grant for North Dakota State University.

Fargo Rep. Bette Grande sponsored the amendment to halt NDSU’s grant, which provides funding for sex education for Fargo-area teens, with parental consent.

The amendment, which passed 57-35, would bar K-12 schools and colleges from contracting with or providing financial support to entities that perform, refer or counsel in favor of abortions.

The full Senate Bill 2368 would ban abortions after 20 weeks after fertilization except to prevent the death of the mother or prevent serious medical complications.

Physicians who perform an abortion after 20 weeks could face a Class C felony and fines. Sponsors of SB2368 are Sens. Joe Miller, R-Park River, Tom Campbell, R-Grafton, and Donald Schaible, R-Mott, and

Reps. Ben Koppelman, R-West Fargo, Diane Larson, R-Bismarck, and Karen Rohr, R-Mandan.

  • House Concurrent Resolution 3003 would, if passed by voters in the 2014 general election, allow a portion of oil extraction tax revenue to be placed in the state Public Employees Retirement Stabilization Fund. HCR3003 passed by a 79-13 vote. Sponsors of HCR3003 are Reps. Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood, David Monson, R-Osnabrock, and Roscoe Streyle, R-Minot, and Sens. Stan Lyson, R-Williston, and Donald Schaible, R-Mott.
  • House Concurrent Resolution 3007, which failed 54-38, would have put a mill levy for the University of North Dakota medical school to a vote of the people.
  • House Concurrent Resolution 3011, which passed 75-17. would require any initiated ballot initiative that has a potential fiscal impact of more than $20 million be placed on the general election ballot. Provisions relating to petition signature requirements and paid petition circulators were removed in committee. Sponsors of HCR3011 are Reps. Al Carlson, R-Fargo, Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood, Bill Devlin, R-Finley, and David Monson, R-Osnabrock, and Sens. Tony Grindberg, R-Fargo, and David Hogue, R-Minot.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.

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