At last night’s debate in the Ag Commissioner race the candidates were asked about their opinions of Measure 5, which would create a massive conservation fund out of oil tax revenues.
Republican Doug Goehring, not surprisingly, opposed the measure. What was surprising is that Democrat Ryan Taylor also said he opposes the measure.
Taylor said it wasn’t his intent to kick the conservationists in the shins, but that’s exactly what he did:
The Republican advocated boosting funding instead to the state’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, which is capped at $30 million for the current biennium. As one of three members of the state Industrial Commission, the agriculture commissioner votes on grants from the fund.
Taylor said he also opposes the measure as a constitutional issue. But he also told the audience of more than 100 people at the North Dakota Heritage Center and those listening on Prairie Public radio that he was “not here to kick the conservation folks in the shins on this issue.”
The cattle rancher and former state senator said he’s the candidate who could bring the agriculture and conservation camps together regardless of how the vote goes on the measure.
I don’t think there’s any question that if Taylor saw Measure 5 as something most North Dakotans supported that he would have expressed support as well. A slush fund funneling oil tax revenues to environmentalist and conservation special interests is right up his ideological alley.
That Taylor made that calculation, and found Measure 5 to be too toxic to touch on the campaign trail, isn’t a good sign for the special interest groups pushing the measure.
He must have seen some polling or something.