Patrick Finken, Bismarck
Democrats in the North Dakota Legislature are chafing at the idea that Republicans want to cut income taxes for business. They find cutting taxes for out-of-state companies even more distasteful.
It is business that has invested billions of dollars in our state and created thousands of good new jobs. Because of business, virtually every corner and industry in our state is thriving. And the Republican proposal to cut income taxes for business by $25 million is modest compared to the over $700 million in property and $100 million in personal income tax cuts Republicans are also proposing.
Democrats are also repeating the phony and politically-motivated claim that Republicans are cutting oil taxes. The bill in question does cut the extraction tax by 2 percent on new wells drilled in 2017 and later, but the taxes on existing wells, or any drilled in the next four years, will not be affected. More importantly, the bill also increases taxes on other Bakken and Three Forks wells by $600 million over the next 10 years, and increases all oil taxes by $1 billion a year if oil prices drop significantly.
It is this kind of anti-business attitude that has gotten many other states like California and Illinois in so much trouble. With business fleeing these states, they face state budget shortfalls, rising unemployment and falling wages.
Here in North Dakota, our leaders have worked hard to create a positive business climate. As a result, we have attracted major corporations like Microsoft and John Deere to invest in our state, and encouraged small business to grow and thrive. Our pro-business climate and attitude has led to more good jobs and rising wages, and North Dakota now has money to invest in schools, infrastructure, flood protection and property tax relief.
It is important that our elected officials remember that it is business that creates the jobs that employ our citizens and the tax revenues that pay for schools and roads. And, when business succeeds, we all win.