A new commenter here showed up to defend Neil Livingstone. S/he said Livingstone’s sex tourism advice made him more electable because it demonstrated his business “savvy.” Then s/he made another ridiculous statement: that there were more oil rigs in North Dakota because “corporations will choose to do business in a state like North Dakota over a state like Montana due to the corporate tax issue.”
The statement is utterly false, but that hasn’t stopped the GOP candidates from repeating variations on it ad nauseum. Today, 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.
Anyway, there’s some serious backpedaling going on in the article.
One of Rick Hill’s biggest flubs in the piece was arguing that oil development is hindered by the high cost of workers’ compensation insurance in Montana. The current work comp system was crafted while Hill was chair of the workers compensation board. Hill used to brag about creating the system, until it got out what a disaster it was for businesses. At that point, Hill tried to scrub his involvement in the debacle from his Wikipedia page.
Right now there are more unemployed Montanans looking for work today than there were a year ago. Our unemployment rate has drifted up over the course of this year, not down.”
-Rick Hill, Montana Public Radio, 11/21/11
“If you ask the outside business groups, what they say about Montana is that we are really interested in investing in Montana, they have a great workforce, work ethic, and a lot of natural resources, there is a lot of potential in Montana. But it is an unstable political regulatory and legal environment for us to make a substantial investment.”
-Rick Hill, Hometown Helena, 6/2/11
“The governor has influence, we need to show the rest of the world we are open for business, we need to show the businesses we are not hostile compared to our neighbors.”
-Corey Stapleton, Yellowstone County Young Republican Debate, 2/9/12
“We have got to become friendly to those that create the jobs, Montana has not had a great reputation for that.”
-Ken Miller, Liberate Main Street, Billings Event, 10/31/11
“My only criticism has been to the governor. It has been that here we are that Montana has this reputation of being anti-business, anti-natural resources development, we cannot seem to get our coal developed. We are behind North Dakota and Wyoming, and the first thing is big bad business.”
-Ken Miller, Voices of Montana, Northern Broadcasting 7/14/11