By Rob Port | Watchdog.org North Dakota Bureau
BIG MONEY: Taxes on oil and gas production in North Dakota are responsible for half of the state’s tax revenues now.
BISMARCK, N.D.— More than half of all revenue in calendar year 2013 came from oil and gas taxes, according to recently released numbers from the North Dakota Tax Department.
The state collected more than $1.34 billion from the gas production tax and more than $1.55 billion from the oil extraction tax. Together, those two taxes 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 revenue.
Those collections have gone 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 Minot Republican representing District 3, says the numbers prove that Democrats are all wrong when they talk about oil production in the state.
“Today’s tax collection numbers are just another reminder of all the good the oil industry is doing for the State of North Dakota,” he said in an email to Watchdog. “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 its statewide convention last weekend.
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