Legislative Report, Week 9, Senator Murphy, 63rd Legislative Session
Last week I told you about the possibility that the Senate could have used my bill to provide locked out workers with unemployment benefits against them. What can be done is turn the bill into the opposite of what it originally was intended to by amending it. You may recall that I asked the Majority Leader not to do that, to be up front about their intentions to change the law. They agreed to use a different bill to accomplish their mission. While we disagree on policy toward locked out workers receiving unemployment compensation, we do agree that our relationship is worth respecting. Politics does not always work out like this; it can be an exceedingly nasty business. If you follow our legislative process, let this be an example of people working together who like and respect each other despite party differences. We see enough of partisanship, but it is not always the rule.
Last week we passed out a tax cut to the oil companies by cutting the extraction tax from 6.5% to 4.5%. The way this is structured – to make the cut once oil is pumped out at the rate of one million barrels per day – could happen within a few months. That will cost us a lot of money. It is true that this bill gets rid of a loophole that is currently costing us money, but I see no reason to have to trade anything for getting rid of that – it could have simply been a policy change. If anything, it seems to me the oil companies do not need more incentive to pull out our one-time resource. They are already making a lot of money and they knew what the rate was when they got here. Some people out here actually have said that there is too much money coming in – I think that means that they are afraid to grow government to the extent allowed by the new money and the demands it brings. The aging roads, bridges and flooding problems would use all the money we could possibly throw at them. Can you think of a road or bridge that could use some work? I know our school is short of rooms for another section should we want to add one. And so it goes.
By the way, we fast tracked out an extra $733,334.34 to Traill County and GF County picked up $3,040,961.54 as of February 26th. Our counties have it now and it is over and above what they had been counting on. So it does not all go to oil counties. Our 8 Traill County cities got a total of $271,233.25 as well. You can look it up on the Office of State Treasurer website to see the specific breakout if you wish. Traill County Townships picked up an extra $455,713.47! We distributed it based on road miles maintained – the biggest with 60 miles was Norman ($22,522.92) and the least with 27 miles was Belmont ($10,135.31). If you are from Cass or GF County, you can look these up any of these as well. As Viking Township clerk/treasurer from 1992 -2011, I would have been thrilled to get a shot of dough like that, and I hope you are too. I have confidence all of our city, county and township officials will use it wisely