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Letter: GOP's oil-tax cut cost North Dakota millions

Forum Communications commentator Rob Port recently accused my friend Corey Mock of "telling a lie for the sake of politics" regarding the Republican majority's decision in 2015 to cut North Dakota's oil extraction tax ("Dems to N.D.: You weren't taxed enough," column, Page A4, May 7).

I worked with state Rep. Mock, D-Grand Forks, the House minority leader, for four legislative sessions. He's always been honest with the citizens of North Dakota, and he's shooting straight on the decision by Republican legislators to cut the oil extraction tax by nearly one-fourth.

Port, as he's done repeatedly, obscures the issue by lumping together the repeal of an outdated tax incentive and the majority's decision to permanently slash the oil extraction tax.

They are two separate issues.

The elimination of the "trigger" incentive was bipartisan and averted a huge revenue loss. If the majority had stopped there, the state would have collected an estimated $235 million more during the past 14 months alone.

Instead, GOP legislators followed up the elimination of the trigger incentive by cutting the oil extraction tax by 23 percent forever. Now, those funds are gone as North Dakotans watch property tax relief slip away and support for schools take a hit.

Port obviously agrees with that policy choice. That doesn't make him a liar, and I respect his right to keep spinning this issue like a rusty merry-go-round.

But if the decision to permanently cut the oil extraction tax was in the best interests of North Dakota, he wouldn't need repetitive posts laced with ad hominem attacks to defend it.

Mac Schneider

Grand Forks

Schneider, a Democrat, represented Grand Forks in the North Dakota Senate from 2009 to 2016. He served as Senate minority leader from 2013 to 2016.