One important Senate Bill Sen. George Nodland inadvertently failed to mention in his recent column is Bill 2336.
Introduced by local Sen. Rich Wardner, and by Rep. Shirley Meyer, SB 2336 is intended to give new coal mines a sales tax exemption on the purchase of machinery used for mining.
Why are our local senators and representatives so concerned about the coal industry getting even more of a handout? Additional tax breaks for oil companies were voted down, there were no bills introduced to give farmers a break on sales tax for buying new tractors, even a proposal to make a three day “sales tax free holiday” on clothing purchases prior to the start of school was voted down, because the House didn’t want to take sales tax revenue away from cities.
I don’t know how much a “dragline, excavator, or conveyor equipment” costs, but when you waive 5 percent state sales tax, that is a pretty good chunk of money you are giving away!
If the coal industry, namely Great Northern Project Development, cannot exist without every possible hand-out, perhaps they should look into another line of work. And perhaps our local representatives should be looking out for the people who elected them, not out of state businesses looking to move in and destroy the livelihoods of the very people that they are being paid to advocate for.
Mary Hodell, Dickinson