It feels good to be settling in at home after a session of only spending some short weekends here. I thank all of you who were in communication with me in any way throughout the process, and I look forward to visiting with you throughout the interim to prepare for the 2019 session.
In the last days of the session, the state takeover of county social services was finalized, while the 12% property tax buydown was discontinued. The net result of this is that many homeowners will pay a little more due to the fact that the mills taken over for social services are usually less than the 12% buydown done in the past couple of sessions. It was important, however, for the state to find an off-ramp from the unsustainable 12% buydown program.
A major sticking point at the end of the session was the funding formula for the redistribution of oil tax money. Legislators outside of oil country feel that the oil-producing political subdivisions get too much money, while the impacted ones don’t feel like they get enough. Some wanted to spread the oil money across all townships throughout the state, and not just to oil-producing townships. The key to remember is that oil pads and other sites do not pay property taxes, with the 10% oil tax paid to the state counting as their payment in lieu of property taxes. Therefore, it is imperative that the impacted areas, who don’t receive any property taxes from the industry to deal with the impacts, receive the distributions that they do. Any other industry typically pays hefty property taxes to the political subdivisions in which they do business, thereby offsetting any negative impacts they bring to local infrastructure. The same cannot be said about the oil sites, however. In the end, Senator Wardner led the charge in conference committee on SB 2013 to see to it that non-producing townships received their assistance from a different source rather than from oil tax money, and oil-producing townships will receive the same assistance as in sessions past.
All in all, it was an honor to serve you this session, and I look forward to continue studying and learning so that I can better serve you in the future. Thank you!
*Jordan Kannianen is a Senator from District 4. Jordan serves on the Education and Political Subdivisions Committees.
*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. Feel free to reach out with any comments/concerns (StanleyGazette@gmail.com)
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