This week, Hill, who has been out of public policy discussions for most of the last decade, dusted off his vision for education funding–well, he dusted off Wyoming’s vision anyway.
Actually, given the tax give-aways for corporations Hill is also proposing, Hill’s plan looks more like a failed Wyoming proposal from Hill’s era 20 years ago–cutting taxes for big corporations like Exxon Mobil. Hill has been out of it for a while, so perhaps he can be excused for not having the most current information. By the time Hill rolls out his next education idea–say banning pagers in schools–we’ll be used to it.
Montana’s tax on oil production used to be similar to Wyoming’s until Montana’s Oil Tax Holiday went into effect in the 1990s. A “tax holiday” means that that the first years production of a new well would go untaxed by the state.
Years back, Wyoming implemented a similar tax holiday on a two year trial basis. But after only one year the legislature realized the idea was a giant failure and rescinded the tax holiday immediately. They found it didn’t create more production or more employment, but it did decrease state revenues alarmingly-including funding for education.
Hill used to blather about how we needed to be more like North Dakota, rather than Wyoming. So I guess Wyoming is the New North Dakota for the former 1990s Congressman.
GOP candidates used to repeat ad nauseum that North Dakota had fewer taxes and relations and therefore more development. Then Governor Brian Schweitzer called them out on their lies. Schweitzer said ”that Republican candidates for governor, who he referred to as ‘jokers,’ are wrong to blame taxes and regulations,” for differing oil development levels in Montana and North Dakota the AP reports.
There are more oil wells North Dakota because there is more oil there to drill. According to Montana Department of Commerce Energy Production and Development Division statistics, Montana’s taxes related to oil and gas production are 40-50% lower than in North Dakota. Our state also has a faster permitting process than both North Dakota and Wyoming. Montana permits are out in 60 days on average. In Wyoming a permit takes ten months. It takes a year in North Dakota.
It’s just not a good sign that Rick Hill–rather than coming up with current ideas to fit Montana in the 21st century–is focusing on obscuring the facts to make Montanans think we want to be more like Wyoming or North Dakota instead.