Former ND Gov supporting oil tax cuts

Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer is starting a campaign to drum up support for reducing the state's oil taxes.

The effort comes as drilling is setting records in western North Dakota's oil producing region. But Schafer says now's the time to discuss cutting oil taxes, rather than when prices and exploration are down.

North Dakota oil wells pay a top tax rate of 11.5 percent. Schafer says that's a higher rate than other competing states. Montana's rate is 9.25 percent.

He says the rate should be lowered and simplified.

Schafer has signed on as a spokesman for the campaign. He says he'll be holding meetings across the state to discuss the issue.

Schafer says he's also alarmed about how oil revenue has been used to jack up state spending.