Oil/Gas Tax Revenues Now 50 Percent Of North Dakota's Collections

Here are some eyebrow-raising numbers: According to recently released numbers from the North Dakota Tax Department, over half of all revenues in calendar  year 2013 came from oil and gas tax revenues.

The state collected over $1.34 billion from the gas production tax and over $1.55 billion from the oil extraction tax. Together, those two taxes alone amounted to more than $2.9 billion of the state’s $5.78 billion collected by the Tax Department in 2013.

In calendar year 2012 tax collections from the production and extraction taxes made up 42 percent of revenues, so that’s a roughly 20 percent increase in the share of the state’s tax revenues coming from oil and gas taxes from 2012 to 2013.

Keep in mind, these are just tax revenues directly attributable to oil and gas activity. Obviously, that activity has also had a big impact on other revenues such as the sales tax, income taxes, etc.

Of course, those collections go along with some aggressive spending growth. Last year the Legislature budgeted for a 62 percent increase in state general fund spending over the previous biennium.

State Rep. Roscoe Streyle, a Republican from Minot, sent me the numbers along with these comments:

Today’s tax collection numbers are just another reminder of all the good the oil industry is doing for the State of North Dakota. We as citizens should be thanking the oil industry and it’s tremendous contribution to the state and not demonizing the industry like the Democrats.  The Democrats say we need balance in the Legislature and Industrial Commission and that the Republicans are wrong on all the issues.  What’s their vision and plan for the future?  Slowing oil production so there’s less jobs, lower wages, business closures, once again declining school enrollment, and our children going out of state for work again?

Democrats running for statewide office have been critical of the state’s handling of oil activity.

“You can’t unleash all that oil and then wonder why the train tracks are full of oil tankers and you can’t get grain on from the elevators in North Dakota and get that product to market,” former legislator Ryan Taylor said during his recent campaign announcement for Agriculture Commissioner in Fargo. “I will not be a rubber stamp for out-of-state oil barons. I’ll stand up for North Dakota.”

The Commissioner of Agriculture has one seat on the North Dakota Industrial Commission which oversees oil development in the state. Taylor received the Democratic Non-Partisan League’s endorsement at their statewide convention last weekend.

That might be a good campaign-year question for Democrats. If they get their way and oil/gas collection slows down, where does the money come from for the aggressive growth in state spending we’ve seen?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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